Update, Wed. Aug. 30, 4 a.m.
In a statement released Tuesday night, NYSEG reported that the majority of customers who are still without power are projected to have service restored by Friday night; all power is projected to be restored early next week for the 32,000 customers in its Brewster Division (parts of Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties).
Of its 6,629 customers in Bedford, 2,952 were without power as of 4 a.m. Wednesday morning; 12,786 customers in Westchester do not have electricity.
NYSEG officials said that of the 272,000 power interruptions that occured because of the storm damage, they have restored approximately 206,000 services.
In order for distribution lines to be fixed—lines which bring power to individual homes—NYSEG has had to repair its own infrastructure first. Of the 27 transmission lines locked out, 16 are now back in service and all 19 substations are repaired, according to a news release.
State and local lawmakers have criticized the company for its response time. Assemblyman Robert Castelli (R,C - Goldens Bridge) released a statement Tuesday night blasting NYSEG for not working as quickly as Con Edison, noting that NYSEG had only restored power to 16 percent of their 50,900 customers in Bedford, Lewisboro, and Pound Ridge, while Con Edison expected to have a 100 percent restoration by Thursday.
“Thus far, the response by NYSEG has left much to be desired,” Castelli said. “While we all understand that this is an unprecedented situation, in the months ahead, a task force should look into why NYSEG was not adequately prepared for this situation, their protocols and procedures, and measure their response and efforts to restore their transmission and distribution lines following the storm.”
In addition, Westchester County Legislator Peter Harckham expressed his frustration publicly in a statement Tuesday night.
“I understand the magnitude of the disaster we are dealing with,” said Harckham, the Legislature’s Majority Leader. “However, I am disappointed with the lack of communication between NYSEG and the municipalities. Con Edison has at least provided ‘municipal liaisons’ to work on-site with the Supervisors and their key personnel, which facilitates necessary communication.”
NYSEG officials, for their part, say they are working around the clock.
“We certainly understand how inconvenient and frustrating it is to be without power, and we appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding as we go about our work,” said Mark S. Lynch, president of NYSEG and RG&E. “We are making good progress and we will be on the job 24/7 until every customer has service restored.”
Tues. a.m. Aug. 30 Story:
In a statement released Monday night, NYSEG stated that "while some customers will have power restored in the next few days...it is likely that many customers will be without power at least into next week."
As of 6 a.m. Tuesday, NYSEG reported that out of its 6,629 customers in Bedford, 2,632 were without power, down from a peak of 4,865 customers without power at 6 a.m. Monday. There is no restoration estimate at this time.
In nearby Lewisboro, almost the entire town was without power on Monday; as of Tuesday morning, 4,189 customers out of 5,454 were down.
Con Edison serves 1,018 customers in Bedford; as of 6 a.m. Tuesday, 575 were still without power. Restorations are estimated for Sept. 1 by noon.
Local fire departments, the police department and town hall have all been bombarded with questions about when power will be restored.
People want to know why it's taking so long.
So I called and spoke to NYSEG spokesperson Clay Ellis.
There was no short answer to when it would be restored—he couldn't say for sure—but I did get a long answer.
"We have two major priorities: the first is to respond to downed wires—and we had about 2,500 of those south of Binghamton," he said. "The second is to do damage assessment; unless you get a big picture of what has happened, you won't know what has to be done."
Ellis also pointed out that the assessment phase helps them plan on how to best use crews to take care of problems.
After the assessment phase, which will be fully finished by Tuesday night, Bedford Supervisor Lee Roberts told Patch, NYSEG determines what needs to be repaired centrally.
"We have to repair transition lines—they are the backbone of our system. Those go into substations, which we have to repair next, and lastly, we get to the distribution lines which bring power to individual customers," Ellis said.
Nearly 200 broken transmission and distribution poles need to repaired as well.
In that last phase, emergency centers and life support customers like hospitals and nursing homes receive priority, he added. Then they look to repair lines that will service the largest block of customers.
"So if you are at the end of the line on a dirt road out in the country, you're probably going to be last," said Ellis.
Hmm. That describes a lot of Bedford.
Do they accept bribes?
"No, we do not," Ellis said. "We are just as eager as everyone else to restore power and our working hard to do so."
As for the dry ice question—it's hard to come by, Ellis said. They'll be .
They are getting criticism for not having enough dry ice or enough distribution centers but they are having supply difficulties.
Bedford Supervisor Lee Roberts, who has also been without power at home, emphathized with the plight of residents.
"It is hard to be without lights and water and I know people with young children have a particular challenging time," she said. "We are unable to open our pool facilities because we do not have power at any of our parks."
She added her hopes for neighbors to be patient and share resources.