Mangano Criticizes LIPA's Response to Superstorm Sandy

County exec says at Thursday press conference in Seaford that utility's communication efforts been poor in aftermath of Oct. 29 natural disaster.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano criticized the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) Thursday for their communication efforts since Superstorm Sandy.

During a press conference at Cedar Creek Park in Seaford, Mangano said his office has requested from LIPA a bullet-point memo on procedures for getting power turned on in flood areas that they can distribute to residents, but so far the utility has not responded.

Mangano said many residents who live in designated flood zones south of Merrick Road have expressed frustration because of LIPA not making clear the proper process for having electrical systems inspected before power is restored. He also said the utility company has failed to adequately respond to customers in flood areas whose homes did not incur flood damage.

“[LIPA] has to be the ones leading the charge to get the lights on,” said a frustrated Mangano during the press conference held next to an American Red Cross feeding site established at Cedar Creek Park last week.

Joe Vicali, who lives in a northern section of Seaford in the Levittown School District showed up at Thursday’s press conference and voiced his anger at not having power for 11 days and LIPA’s lack of response to any of his questions.

“They are not picking up their phones," Vicali said. “LIPA has to be held responsible for this." 

Mangano said the Merrick Fire Department and some other firefighters in Nassau County have stepped up to the plate to help with the inspection process to help get homes powered up that were not impacted by flooding south of Merrick Road. He also added that the county’s three town supervisors in Hempstead, North Hempstead and Oyster Bay have been authorized by the county to go directly into LIPA sub stations with outage maps to inform electric crews on what non-flooded homes can have power turned on.

The LIPA press office did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment on Mangano’s criticism levied against the utility. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also lashed out at LIPA in a press conference Thursday saying they were "unprepared" for Superstorm Sandy as well as the nor'easter that struck the area Wednesday. More than 100,000 LIPA customers lost power during Wednesday's snowstorm on top of the outages still in place from Sandy.  

Pat November 09, 2012 at 08:43 PM
LIPA fails in communication and definitely earns an "F" in that department. However, we cannot build houses on the water and maintain our beautifully treed neighborhoods and expect that in a storm of this magnitude that it will not take weeks to get the power back up. My neighborhood looked like a war zone the day after the storm with a downed tree every 100'. Do you expect LIPA to have parts available in the quantity they need right now and to have enough people to be in every community immediately after the storm? We are so used to our conveniences and now expect instant gratification in our "Apple" world. If this were September, the complaints would not be as loud, but it is cold and that contributes to the frustration. I have seen plenty of trucks out, but there are assessments and safety issues to be considered. If LIPA would clarify in an announcement and press release what the procedure is for getting an electrical certification and then how to proceed to get power turned on, they would alleviate a good deal of the anger. Secondly, they need to install a temporary phone bank and get more people answering phones. Good communication goes a long way in keeping people calm and accepting of the difficulties.
Catuzza November 09, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Yes, it can be done! Putting the WIRES UNDERGROUND, like they have them in Manhattan, where there was no blackout caused by fallen trees. It costs much more than with the poles but it solves the problem once and for all! Of course LIPA does not do it because it gets reimbursed by FEMA and by extra charges to us for the poles repairs.
Michael G. November 09, 2012 at 10:26 PM
LIPA has 1950's equipment in the 21st century. Modern sensors (connected to a computer network) on transformers can cut out the current before real harm is done. Putting main wires underground in some critical locations would prevent some major outages. Laws about private persons having to trim or remove trees on their property that put power lines at risk must be enacted. Villages like Muttontown that make it nearly impossible to remove a tree must be brought to task for this stupidity. If we leave it up to LIPA, this will all happen again. Get on the case of your local legislator and let's get some action. Once was enough.
Art November 10, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Michael G. has touched on a major point. Fortunately we had a dying & diseased tree removed by the Town a month before Sandy. Removal was obstructed by someone protesting its removal and delayed the process. I wonder if that person would assume the liability of the trees future damages? Restrictions should be placed on the type of tree planted and permits should be required for any tree over 5 feet growing wildly or cultivated. Some of the trees are a menace to neighbors and there is nothing they can do. Local governments should address this problem now.
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