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Supervisor: National Guard to Help Clear Roads, NYSEG Repairing Bedford Substation

Supervisor Lee Roberts says that representatives from the National Guard, school districts, fire departments, police and ambulance corps are all working together; plus, NYSEG has begun the repair process.

Local officials are frustrated—to say the least—with the response from NYSEG, which delivers electricity to most of Northern Westchester.

"There are so many local and regional groups working together to recover from Sandy—even the National Guard is here to help us clear roads," Bedford Supervisor said Thursday morning. "But there is no NYSEG."

Roberts said in a Thursday morning conference call, NYSEG representatives said they were doing all they can to continue the clean up from Hurricane Sandy. But the multi-step process has been moving slowly, she said.

The utility said they first had to repair transmission lines before they could move on to substation repair. Then work on the distribution lines—which brings electricity to local homes—follows. See the bottom of this article for a breakdown of the process.

"After Irene, we were told we would have a crew assigned to each municipality to help us do the "make safe" work needed before power lines could be moved. But I've heard that crew was assigned to the county instead of Bedford. No one seems to have any answers," she said.

NYSEG officials have also refused to commit to restoration times, she said, citing horrendous damage "like they'd never seen before." When she and other local and county officials pressed them to commit to times to help locals plan, the utility company said they didn't want to give locals false hope. After Irene, they failed to meet estimated repair times which they said made the situation worse.

County Legislator Peter Harckham is also working to get answers from NYSEG.

"It is unacceptable that NYSEG has not provided ‘make safe’ crews to our municipalities. Our local highway crews stand at the ready to open roads, but cannot until they are told a downed line is safe. What is worse, this was a best practice learned during Hurricane Irene," he said in an e-news release. "It is mind boggling that NYSEG has not followed this practice. I, along with your local, state and other County officials, have voiced our frustration with NYSEG at the highest levels."

Roberts said today she has seen trucks on Adams Street and has confirmed that the work on the Bedford Hills power substation is underway.

"We will continue to provide dry ice and water and warming centers to residents, but I don't know how long people can last without sanitary conditions and cold temperatures at home," she said.

Damages inflicted by Hurricane Sandy will take days to repair, NYSEG warned early this week.

“NYSEG and RG&E crews are making solid progress restoring service in the upstate region where damage was much less severe than it could have been,” said Mark S. Lynch, president of NYSEG and RG&E. “As we complete our work there, crews will be re-assigned to assist our downstate crews in making repairs.” 

While utility crews have made progress in upstate areas, work in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties is still in the assessment phase.

“To put this storm and the current damage into perspective, the day after Irene was warm and sunny and we were able to begin our restoration work immediately. That restoration effort across the NYSEG service area took approximately eight days,” Lynch said. “Today we are still fighting inclement weather—for example we are not able to fly to inspect our transmission lines, and the damage to our facilities appears to be much worse than it was following Irene.”

Crews will begin "comprehensive damage assessment" on Wednesday, followed by the distribution of estimated restoration times. 

How Power is Restored:

According to Lynch, the safety of crews and customers is paramount and this procedure ensures safety is a priority:

  • Removing hazards – such as live, fallen power lines.
  • Make necessary repairs to the backbone of the system: transmission lines and substations.
  • Work on our local delivery system, including the poles and power lines along streets and roads, focusing first on critical facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, and fire and power stations.

After the storm there were 31,000 Westchester residents and over 32,000 Putnam residents currently without power.

Mom of 4 November 01, 2012 at 03:39 PM
It is still unbelievable that NYSEG has not set up definitive times for dry ice delivery in our area! I did see that there would be very limited supplies in Mahopac, Somers and Yorktown - but only to those in dire need. Isn't everyone without a generator in "dire need"???? For many, 72 hours later is too late. NYSEG, WAKE UP!!!!
Katonah12 November 01, 2012 at 05:14 PM
I really can't believe why I have not seen 1 NYSEG truck or crew in Katonah. I mean i understood on tuesday why valley road, cherry st and huntsville road all had trees/wires down, but its now been 3 days since the storm and all I see are road blocks and some yellow tape hanging from the wires to alert you as you drive under them... Where are all the NYSEG Crews?
CJ Marshall November 01, 2012 at 05:45 PM
And what about Con Ed?? There are those of us who have Con Ed & no mention is being made of that. I need my electric just as much as NYSEG folks!
Mom of 4 November 01, 2012 at 07:03 PM
At least ConEd has crews on the ground working and giving updates as to restoration. They are hopeful to make good progress in the next two days. All NYSEG says is "it's going to be a long haul" - REALLY?
Somers Resident November 01, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Not a utility truck seen since the storm began. Cannot believe the ineptitude of these utility companies. They sure no how to get their bills out quickly enough.
Lisa Buchman (Editor) November 01, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Hi CJ, here's the latest from Con Ed: http://patch.com/A-zlqZ
JJ Katonah November 01, 2012 at 07:36 PM
While everyone certainly understands the complications associated with the massive impact of the storm, the lack of communication and transparency from NYSEG is truly unfathomable. To not have any make safe crews in the area 3 days after the storm should not be accepted, especially after the lessons that should have been learned after Irene. It seems that NYSEG has all crews working where the impact was much less severe (according to their own press release) and only intends to divert them to the downstate counties after complete restoration there. You can voice your concerns with the New York Public Services Commission (http://www.dps.ny.gov/) or call 1-800-342-3377 (8:30 am - 4:00 pm) and file a complaint. While I do not expect. miracles, enough contacts and concerns may lead to some additional pressure being put on the utilties
tired in katonah November 01, 2012 at 07:40 PM
So according to NYSEG they can only work on nice sunny days? Great co-ordination by our elected officials. Hope everyone got a "lollypop stick" from town hall so that they might be able to get some dry ice.
Annie Kirk November 01, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Wow. I think you all need to think about the 2 families who lost CHILDREN in this storm. You're spewing about dry ice and complaining about how long you'll be without power. Those families are without their precious children forever. You need to settle down and rethink what's important.
Mom of 4 November 02, 2012 at 04:02 PM
With due respect, Annie, I think you are comparing apples to oranges. I feel terrible for the families who have lost loved ones in this storm, for the 100+ families in Breezy Pointe whose homes burned to the ground, for the people who live along the NJ coast and in NYC who are homeless and have lost everything. I am eternally grateful that my family and home were spared, however, these losses that others have experienced do not excuse NYSEG from doing their job. Because others have lost things that are far more precious does not mean that it is ok for the residents that NYSEG serves to lose all of our food and be displaced from our homes because they are too cold to live in. What is IMPORTANT to each and every one of us is that we find a way to care for our loved ones. I would like nothing more than to return to my home and my community to do just that. I should not have to beg the power company that supplies my power to get off their butts and do their job. It appears that ConEd has a much larger job ahead of them than NYSEG but they are firing up boilers all over Westchester as we speak and handing out dry ice daily at several locations daily. NYSEG showed up to the party late as usual & empty-handed to boot. That's not ok! Sadly, this is nothing new. Check out this article from August 2011: http://yorktown-somers.patch.com/articles/town-officials-calling-for-investigation-of-nyseg-due-to-lack-of-response . We could rerun it this week and just change the date!
Ang November 04, 2012 at 01:25 AM
As a wife of a lineman, that works for NYSEG....you people do make me angry. All the guys that he works with work from sun up to sun down and later...grab their alotted hours of sleep while doing storm work, and then back out there in the morning to turn the power on for all the ingreats. He works hard and is beat, but he along with many other care about you. Glad they dont' have the time to read all this garbage because they are out there risking their lives to make your lives more comfortable as fast as they can without losing a life. Hopefully, instead of complaining when you see them working, you will find it in your hearts to bring them a cup of coffee or something that shows you appreciate them.....because you should.
Len Martello November 04, 2012 at 01:42 AM
I could only honk my horn and give a thumbs up to the NYSEG workers, as their trucks rolled along Rte 117 from Katonah towards Bedford Hills. Thanks to all the men and women out there working to restore us after the storm. You can look at actions of management and the leadership team and question them, but have some gratitude and respect for the men and women in the field, who ARE doing their job. One man's opinion.
Mom of 4 November 04, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Ang, you just don't get it - I don't begrudge your husband for doing his job. My beef is not with him, but with the corporation itself. NYSEG is entirely mismanaged. There are not enough men on the ground doing the work that needs to get done. I am very happy that there are men, like your husband, willing to do this type of work - my own father was a troubleshooter many years ago - but this wait time is ridiculous and the errors occurring on the ground are unacceptable. There has been more than one instance of a street being reported as restored when it is not. I should not have to be online 24/7 monitoring "Outage Central" to make sure that my street isn't mistakenly dropped from the cue. With the climate changing as it has done and will continue to do I think we can expect more and more storms like this. What is NYSEG going to do? Just expect us to plan to be out of power for a week to ten days each time? Or have everyone install a generator? Perhaps if we all decide not to pay our NYSEG bill next month that might jolt the administration to make some changes. They need to feel it where it hurts - in their own pockets. As for serving up hot coffee - I suggest you pack your hubby a thermos. The coffee at my house is a week old and cold.

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