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LIPA Calls in Hundreds to Prepare for Irene

The utility company has assembled a force of more than 1,600 to prepare for storm despite the potential cost.

Long Island Power Authority is calling in all of its employees and hundreds of outside contractors to prepare for potential electrical outages and damages from Hurricane Irene.

"We have been closely monitoring Hurricane Irene on a 24-hour basis. We started monitoring the weather maps last week," said Vanessa Baird-Streeter.

LIPA is calling more than 750 employees and contractors on Long Island to assist with any necessary restoration efforts. All LIPA and National Grid workers have been notified their vacations are canceled and to expect extended working hours, the spokeswoman said.

In addition, the utility company has committed to hiring 970 off-island crews to aid with potential electrical restorations and fix damages, Baird-Streeter said. Crews are expected to begin arriving on Saturday, although staging areas have not been determined yet.

LIPA's preparations for Hurricane Irene, preparing a crew of more than 1,600 workers is considerable given the public criticism the utility faced after spending $34 million on Hurricane Earl nearly a year ago, which was forecast for Long Island but ended up causing minimal damage. News reports eventually surfaced that pointed to excessive spending in hiring the contractors, and public outcry has since gone so far at the legislative level to result in a . 

Nonetheless, the utility remains steadfast in preparing for the worst once again.

"We err on the side of the customer. We err on the side of restoring service as quickly and expeditiously for our customers as possible," Baird-Streeter said. "At the end of the day, we have to prepare for the forecast."

LIPA is encouraging residents to visit their Storm Center, where they can find tips on preparing for their own safety, report an outage or view a map of outages across Long Island. 

LIPA's spokeswoman instructed customers to call the company's Outage Hotline at 1-800-490-0075 if electricity is lost. Leave your phone number and ask for a call back if you want to receive notification of when you can expect power to be restored.

A National Grid spokeswoman said it is still managing emergency preparations for national gas service, but would not release any details at this time.

* August 28, 2011 at 09:21 AM
All those blocked deeded utility easements will be Lipa's challenge after this hurricane Irene's wrath. Clearance of 2ft., from utilities poles from each property property line were never enforce. Moreover; after this storm I'm sure they will. This 2011 Emergency clearance oversight lapse between Lipa,, National Grid Telephone and Cable the Towns Municipalities for it's years of non enforcement. The new legislation's for Huricaine codes for building and windows. Will be New York State's focus. In the mean time all neighbors be safe and blessed.
Mark Wilson August 28, 2011 at 12:10 PM
To have to depend upon these PROVEN Chiselers and Thieves to do EVEN THEIR JOB in an emergency like this, IS THE CHALLENGE ! This easement issue is NO SURPRISE ! Just add it to the LONG LIST of how they have frittered away ALL of our power payments and TAX DOLLARS supposedly tagged for "infrastructure" !
Deborah Gibbons August 28, 2011 at 06:39 PM
Where are the trucks. Storm is over, and I am sitting in Panera because I have no cable or electric. Bring on the repairs!
BOB PALADIN August 29, 2011 at 06:47 PM
lipa needs competition they just can not run a business . anybody who understands damage control knows it take three times the manpower than the original estimate due to change orders.. no repair goes smootley to be told today to wait till friday is proof positive that competition is needed on the island. once again lipa proves how inept they are.
BOB PALADIN August 29, 2011 at 06:49 PM
does lipa wait till friday to collect or do they send goons to your door with a 'pay me or i cut your power '

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