LIPA Halfway to Restoring Power

Power company also increases number of severely damaged areas.

Long Island Power Authority officials reported Tuesday that they've completed power restoration to about half the customers who lost power as a result of hurricane.

"We have approximately 270,000 customer outages remaining as of this morning ," LIPA chief Michael Hervey said at a morning press briefing. "This reflects over the last 24 hours we've restored about 124,000 customers."

About 523,000 customers initially lost power because of the storm and the company upped the number of problem areas they've found.

After completing about half of its initial damage assessment on Monday, LIPA said it had found about 750 areas where there had been significant damage in the storm. They're now saying they've found 3,000 areas wtih significant damage. 

"We know that it's very important to restore power as quickly as possible and we've deployed every single asset that's available to do that," Hervey said.

The company has come under criticism by some area elected officials about the restoration job and the company has pledged to start giving out more information.

Currently, LIPA is only updating their website twice a day with a total number of customer outages. Statistics that go into outages in individual localities may be outdated according to spokeswoman. But the company expects to change that soon.

"We've has a high level of information, but not detailed information," Hervey said at the briefing. "But we're in a state now having done our damage assessments where we can give our customers the detailed information about outages that they're used to getting."

Customers will soon be getting automated phone messages regarding the status of outages and estimated restoration times he said.

Hervey also said that local officials should work with county Office of Emergency Management officials to identify problem areas such as major intersections with trees down that should be prioritized.

"Our first priority is the main feeds … because that gets the most customers on the fastest," Hervey said. "But at the same time we have a mechanism set up through the OEMs  to get specific priorities of a road opening or a specific intersection."

The company reported that power has been restored to all hospitals on Long Island.

National Grid's John Bruckner also reported that all of the areas substations are now operational and 46 of the power system's 56 most significant circuits have been restored.

CJ August 31, 2011 at 06:57 PM
We have been BBQing, and sleeping with the windows open. The weather isn't bad, TV is boring anyway, and they're doing what they can. I am sure LIPA would rather be charging us for electricity than paying OT to all of the workers they have trying to fix this. I doubt they are deliberately dragging this out, and I am incredulous to how small minded and self centered so many of these comments are. Count your blessings or don't, whichever works for you. But remember that people lived ages without electric, and for the majority of the population, as annoying as it may be, this is not life threatening. If your life is in danger, then there are hospitals and shelters that are available. It's not the ideal situation, but it happens. There was a lot of serious damage, and a lot of the trees that came down were in the yards of homeowners, not even where LIPA/the town would be trimming the trees. It's a natural disaster, and we are lucky that it wasn't worse than it was. Go have a picnic or do something productive with the few days we've been thrown back into analog mode. Complaining certainly is not going to make anything get fixed any quicker. Perhaps there are neighbors that could use some support - why not channel all of this energy into something positive instead of focusing on finger pointing? I don't have any LIPA affiliations, but I certainly don't believe that anyone is maliciously depriving us of power - or that any more could have been done to prevent the damage.
paul August 31, 2011 at 06:58 PM
i lived in the village for Gloria. We did not lose power for long at all. Hours. This was a tropical storm 26 years later. This is bad service. LIPA needs competition. The system is a failure.
Vito August 31, 2011 at 07:01 PM
A family with a severely handicapped son in my area were evacuated by the local fire department on Saturday morning. Help was and remains available to those who could not help themselves. I get a feeling that few complaining here are handicapped or elderly so don't resort to theatrics now that you feel embarrassed about your inability to tolerate inconvenience. I looked at paper today and saw places upstate and in Vermont and NJ where entire towns were swept away in floods. That is a problem. What people are dealing with on LI is an inconvenience.
paul August 31, 2011 at 07:06 PM
You are correct. Life is still good and we count our blessings. Bu that is not the point. We rely on LIPA and they have failed miserably. They are under staffed, mis regulated, poorly managed and most importantly unaccountable. Its not the point what you affiliations are or are not. We are lucky the weather has been good. All the more reason to expect some results. The response here by LIPA is a complete joke.
CJ August 31, 2011 at 07:16 PM
@Paul - When was the last time you remember losing power? I think that with the resources available, they are probably doing the best job they can - and as others have mentioned, they are subcontracting. Would it be nice if it was faster? Yeah, I suppose so. But it's only been like 4 days, and on Sunday they could not even work most of the day because of the high winds. Plus - there is a lot of debris that needs to be removed before poles can go up and lines can be fixed. It's a multi-step process here, and unfortunately it is going to take time. I don't personally know any management from LIPA, but as I said before, I can't imagine them wanting to pay overtime and pay subcontractors all week and NOT be collecting our electric bill $, that is just counter-intuitive.
paul August 31, 2011 at 07:38 PM
Im not blaming the workers alone. As I said, one of the problems here is they are under resourced. But the allocation of resources and the preparedness was very poor. What do you expect when you are dealing with an entity that faces no competiton and has such little accountability? We should expect more. With the prices and taxes we pay. I have no personal grudge with LIPA. I cant understand how anyone could defend them here. How much worse of a job could they do?
Jim R. August 31, 2011 at 07:39 PM
@CJ - I'm just happy I have a house that was undamaged. LIPA is doing the best they can and frankly, I'm so tired of people complaining. Repairing electrical lines is not easy!!!
Commackian August 31, 2011 at 07:58 PM
Living without electricity is no fun, I'll give you that. But no power company is set up to restore power after a storm of this magnitude in a couple of days. Especially one in an area where tropical storms are a relative rarity. They have to prioritize what they've got by need and volume. There are always going to be customers at the bottom of a list, and it sucks. Last year they mobilized for a big snowstorm that didn't make much of a mark and they were raked over the coals for the cost of having those trucks on standby when it turned out they weren't utilized. It seems likely that experience impacted the number of crews ordered this time. The damage from weather events like these can't be confirmed ahead of time for electric companies to request an accurate number of out of state crews in time for cleanup immediately following a storm.
Barbara Roden August 31, 2011 at 08:16 PM
Let us remember that when they brought in all those workers for Earl last year LIPA was blamed for spending millions of our dollars for a storm that didn't come. So this time they wait until the are sure the storm is coming and all of a sudden they didn't handle this properly either. When you wait it takes the out of state crews days to travel here. I think they are doing what they can. Think it is funny how all the politicians are screaming considering how many calls I had to make to get streets plowed last year.
Marita Eybergen August 31, 2011 at 08:24 PM
@j, I agree with you about LIPA and no competition and high rates, wait till this is all over gaurantee our rates are going to increase because of this storm. But as far as the tree goes to be taken down that would be the highway dept. William Naughton's dept. LIPA can only cut what is on the wires or trim around the wires. LIPA rates should be investigated the big wigs are making millions and we are suffering to pay our LIPA bill.
Diane August 31, 2011 at 08:24 PM
I do not feel sorry for the LIPA workers who are putting in 16 hour days and I'm getting tired of hearing about it. When pay day comes they'll all be rewarded...and handsomely at that! Plenty of people are putting in a lot of extra hours because of the storm aftermath and don't get acknowledged at all.
Marita Eybergen August 31, 2011 at 08:27 PM
Well said, same goes for our town worker's they are glad to get all this overtime pay. They would work 24/7 if they could.
Mary Beth August 31, 2011 at 10:22 PM
Agreed, Diane. And let's not forget, despite what some say about all of the "whining", most of the comments I have read here are not an attack on workers, but an attack on LIPA management. LIPA needs to be proactive NOT reactive
Doug August 31, 2011 at 11:48 PM
Mr. Sorrentino, I am disappointed that you have allowed people to call each other names. I expected more from you.
Michael Sorrentino (Editor) September 01, 2011 at 12:28 AM
Doug, we monitor the comments as much as possible. All readers should review our terms of use (here: http://patchogue.patch.com/terms) regarding commenting and refrain from personal attacks among other policies. Additionally, here is a segment from the terms regarding how Patch monitors commenting: "We do our best to keep tabs on what is posted on the site, however Patch is under no obligation to screen or monitor Content, but may review Content from time to time at its sole discretion to determine compliance with this Acceptable Use Policy. Patch will make all determinations as to what Content is appropriate at its sole discretion. We may include, edit or remove any Content at any time without notice."
John Gruber September 01, 2011 at 03:49 AM
people are complaining about no electricity for a few days, yet what do you think goes on in Florida and most of the South EVERY YEAR? the real issue is that it only took a tropical storm to knock out a lot of power. And despite the many shortcomings of LIPA, fixing the power isn't as easy as flipping a switch. And you know, there are these things called TREES all over the place which make it a little difficult to restore power
Linda Najdek September 01, 2011 at 12:02 PM
Mark Wilson September 01, 2011 at 06:34 PM
To LIPA this is 1911 and NOT 2011 !
Kevin September 01, 2011 at 07:47 PM
Finally, my power has been restored. My only complaint with regard to LIPA is that they really need to work on developing a better communication system. The technology should be in place to call/text/email to each customer a status of what is going on in the restoration effort for their home. Otherwise, the people who are out in the field putting the system back together deserve praise. It wasn't planned, but my wife and I enjoyed the evenings by candlelight without the distractions of TV and the internet. I think I will cut on own power from time to time....
Marita Eybergen September 01, 2011 at 08:47 PM
It's like the Ball Park hotdog commercial, the dad comes home, no one acknowledges him so he shuts the power and barbeques with the family all sitting and talking. I love this commercial getting back to the good old days of family conversation. My kids were in shock that they did not have electricity for 3 days but the sure did a lot of communicating with each other, it was priceless. I am thinking about cutting power too once in a while.
Mark Wilson September 01, 2011 at 09:21 PM
THIS is what Hervey said the "problem" was... "Part of the problem, Hervey said, is that for Irene, LIPA dusted off a two-decade-old plan that called for decentralized dispatch repair operations, effectively creating 30 separate, nearly independently run repair utilities at substations." http://www.newsday.com/news/breaking/lipa-acknowledges-communications-problem-1.3134776 Hervey thinks that using a "two-decade old plan" is "the problem" ! WHAT A GENIUS !
Sunflowergirl September 02, 2011 at 10:05 AM
I am not certain if it is worth posting my comments, but hopefully it will help. LIPA can not remove all trees that have taken out powerlines or poles. If you see a tree down in your neighborhood, ask the homeowners how you can help. Perhaps they do not know what to do or where to start? Or perhaps you know a friend who knows a friend who can remove the tree. LIPA MUST restore power in a certain order. Meaning they can not fix area c, until a and b are restored. Just because you have power now does not mean that it will stay on. They must take down grids to fix the fast patch jobs done to get people back on line. People must not drive as though all is fixed. Yes, traffic lights are out. Be aware, slow down and look out for idiots. Please do not yell at the LIPA workers. You have no idea what part of the country where they are from or exactly what they are doing. I agree that LIPA is not communicating well with the public. I did not have power for 4 days and I was tired of feeling dirty and hearing the annoying generator next door run out of gas CONSTANTLY, but the people who were working in my neighborhood did not cause they problems they were trying to fix the problem. A can of soda or a nice smile to workers who are also tired, can go along way. To those still without power: I drive around LI for work. Whenever I saw a group of workers, power was restored shortly after. Or you may never see those workers and the power is on.
Mark Wilson September 02, 2011 at 11:14 AM
THESE WORKERS are NOT working for free ! They are getting MORE THAN FAIR UNION WAGES ! Before you pity them, look at your electric bill, AND project how much they are going to RAISE your bill because of this storm...then just sit there and worry about how YOU are going to pay FOR HIGHER POWER RATES ! "Hiring outside crews in advance of the storm is no small decision for LIPA. The authority took criticism last year when it contracted for 1,600 outside crews in advance of Hurricane Earl, which left Long Island unscathed. The $34-million tab set off several investigations, including an ongoing probe by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli." http://www.newsday.com/news/breaking/lipa-readies-workers-for-hurricane-irene-1.3121284
greencap September 02, 2011 at 08:45 PM
@Mark: These people deserve a good wage as they are working very hard to get the power back. They deserve more than "fair" wages as they are getting barely any sleep etc. LIPA was blasted for the Earl miss, and now that they called it right and got manpower in, people are blasting them again. In a few block radius of my home there are 10 lines down. Think of how many homes there are on LI and how large the area is. It is a very big job! It is not about pitying the workers, it is about respect. They are doing their jobs and deserve appreciation. Sure they are also getting paid too, but that does not diminish what they are doing. There are crews from all over the country. And yes, this is costing LIPA a lot which will cost us in the end, but then again this is a DISASTER and it is to be expected that it is going to cost money! I am still out of power and I am patient. My neighborhood was a wreck and I fully expected it to take a long time to come back, and cost a lot. It is called being realistic. What good is it getting all mad about this? I guess if you were running LIPA you would have known about the storm a month in advance and imported linemen from China for $1 an hour.
greencap September 02, 2011 at 08:55 PM
Those linemen are not just from Missouri, they are from Joplin which had that terrible tornado early this year. At least the Missouri crew near me was from there. To all you people complaining, look what happened to them, and now they are here helping us. My power is still out and I am glad nothing fell on my house, and that people are working to get power back.
greencap September 02, 2011 at 08:59 PM
How can you not be reactionary to a Hurricane? People are mad that they do not get some estimate that says "Sir your power will be on Tuesday at 1pm". The fact is that these guys are driving around, finding downed lines, and fixing them. It is not possible to know really the extent of the damage. It would be a different story if LIPA sent all of their guys on vacation before the storm. They are doing as much as they can.
Mark Wilson September 03, 2011 at 11:08 AM
LIPA has a well earned reputation as being a refuge for political hacks, who use it as their own ATM machine. Investigation of Compensation Awarded to the Chairman of the Long Island Power Authority in 2006 http://www.ig.state.ny.us/pdfs/Investigation%20of%20Compensation%20for%20LIPA%20Chair.pdf It's management...if you want to call it that...also has a consistently BAD reputation... DiNapoli: LIPA Storm Costs 80 Percent Over Budget on Average Over Nine Years "The Long Island Power Authority overspent its budget on storm costs by an average of 80 percent since 2001, with this year’s storm costs exceeding budgeted expenses by 640 percent, according to a report released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. DiNapoli noted the trend of overspending suggests LIPA needs to improve its methodology for budgeting its storm costs to effectively balance storm preparedness with prudent spending. " http://www.osc.state.ny.us/press/releases/dec10/123010.htm In case you didn't read the post about this storm, and LIPA using a 20 year old emergency plan, the link is above your post. I feel they can do better that use a 20 YEAR OLD EMERGENCY PLAN...how about you ? Come back to us, when your get your bill with increased electric rates, and then let us know how you feel.
Gail Simons September 03, 2011 at 11:16 AM
Imagine when a real catastrophe hits & we are forced to make serious changes. How many will be able to weather that storm? Wasn't everyone prepared for worse than this, anyway? You should have been...
Patcher September 03, 2011 at 11:39 AM
Ah, blaming the victims again. Revenge of the school marms.


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