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Astorino Presses for Power at Schools, Voting Sites

County Executive spoke with NYSEG and Con Edison heads to press for speedy power restoration.

Nearly 130,000 Westchester County NYSEG and Con Edison customers remain without power as of Saturday afternoon in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. While the numbers represent an improvement from Friday's, County Executive Robert P. Astorino pressed the companies for full power restoration with an immediate focus on schools and polling places. 

"Our biggest priorities are our schools. We want all schools open on Monday," Astorino said. "After that, our priority is our voting places, which in many cases are in schools. Let me assure our residents they will have a place to vote on Tuesday. We are getting generators for some places. And if a poll does not have power by Monday evening, we will have an alternative, nearby place to vote."

Should polling locations change, the county will use its paratransit fleet to transport paratransit riders.

Con Edison President Craig Ivey assured Astorino during a conversation earlier Saturday that none of the company's resources are being diverted to New York City. Astorino also spoke with NYSEG CEO Mark Lynch.

"Again, I am asking all our residents to be patient," Astorino said. "I know this is hard, particularly as the outages continue and the weather gets colder."

Nearly 1.5 million New Jersey customers remain without power and 750,000 on Long Island. 

According to Astorino, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said gasoline deliveries are returning to normal and generators are being delivered to stations without power. Astorino asked that residents who do not need gasoline to refrain from topping off their tanks. 

Astorino emphasized that the county is working closely with local governments to oversee the recovery process through the Emergency Operations Center (EOC); the county EOC has daily calls with municipalities.

The Department of Public Safety activated its Sheriff's Emergency Force after requests for police support came in, said Astorino. And all county police officers have been placed on 12-hour shifts to maximize deployment. 

Power Outages Breakdown as of 3:30 p.m. Saturday: 

Estimated Number of Westchester County Customers Without Power: 
Con Edison: 108,469 (11,905 have regained power since Friday afternoon)
NYSEG: 21,200 (4,499 have regained power since Friday afternoon)

Estimated Number of Westchester County Polling Sites Without Power:
92 of 380 have no power as of 2 p.m. Saturday

Estimated Number of Westchester County Schools Without Power: 
107 of 142 schools in Con Edison territory remained without power. The company expects the number to drop to 55 by Saturday evening. 

Jim Newhouse November 04, 2012 at 01:54 PM
I wish con ed and nyseg would acknowledge that upper wechester is at the bottom of the list whenever there's an outage and stop jerking us around. Worker bee's are doing their best and get credit for their efforts. Management on the other hand is losing credibilty and has a pr problem as a result.
Mom of 4 November 04, 2012 at 02:05 PM
I disagree about schools opening. I am displaced from my home and now in a nice safe warm home out of state. If I come back to send my children to school we are forced to live in a home that has had no heat or power or plumbing or food when the school day is over. And what should I do all day while I wait for my children to come home? Go to a mall? Take my dog with me? Or should I just sit in my car and burn more gas?
Cadeyrn November 04, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Mom of 4 ... you can teach your kids more important lessons that they'll get in school. Yes, school's essential, but what you can impart is in a class by itself. Another few days outside of the classroom won't cause a ripple in their lives. Hang with your kids ... they're your real jewelry.
Mom of 4 November 04, 2012 at 03:13 PM
I agree, however, if school does open then my children - especially those in high school - are very worried about falling further behind. There has been no restoration movement in our town over the past 24 hours. I am not hopeful that we will have our power restored before our Nov 7th predicted restoration date - I am more concerned that date will be extended. I know that there are people far worse off than that. Families in lower Westchester are getting dates more than a week from now! And NYSEG/ConEd is worried about voting sites? I think that this unprecedented storm needs some unprecedented decisions about the Presidential election. There are so many families displaced from their homes throughout NY and NJ and other parts of the East Coast. Can't we just suspend this election a week or two? I hardly even remember what the candidates were saying! None of it even seems important in the midst of the disaster photos I am viewing online. Is anyone really in the mood to think about politics - other than to complain about how politicians are responding to our immediate needs? Folks, this is a disaster.... let's take care of our people first - voting sites should be a last priority as far as I am concerned. Let's ask the people in Rockaway what they think....
Joanna Heintze November 04, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Great work geniuses prioritizing the polling places over residences. With no running water since Monday afternoon there isn't a politician in the state of NY who is qualified to flush my toilet right about now. Con Edison honchos Ivey and Burke and families are welcome to trade living situations with my family here in a blackout zone of Yorktown heights for a few days and issue some more statements on what a great job their company is doing.
Sami November 04, 2012 at 03:20 PM
We contacted our homeowners insurance to see if food was covered (we lost 2 freezers and a fridge full- hundreds of dollars) and were told that they will only reimburse (after deductible, of course) for food that we still had a receipt for. Seriously, who keeps receipts for food that you purchased a few months ago (for freezer- we normally buy meat and veggies in bulk to freeze), so we are just out of luck.
Blaue Vogel November 04, 2012 at 03:39 PM
I came away with my kids, my husband, my extended family, friends and house intact. That's about all that matters in my life. Other people weren't so fortunate. Their lives are forever altered. Put things in perspective. "Tough times don't last, but tough people do."
Scott Petricig November 04, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Wow some people are really misunderstanding my comments here! The whole point was that some of these priorities are wrong! I know that a lot of people are in much worse shape, and the priority should be to help them! I'm not complaining at all about my own situation, I'm lucky enough to have a generator at my apartment and to be able to have some heat, hot water, and keep my food refrigerated. I'm more concerned about the other people. I still think the priority should be people's homes and businesses.
Gabs Gabs November 04, 2012 at 04:25 PM
con edison has been giving out dry ice for free....go get some
Mom of 4 November 04, 2012 at 04:50 PM
@Gabs - not NYSEG - they came in with limited supplies 72 hours after the outage and town halls are handing out "vouchers" - one per resident household to get it when and if it does arrive. For many, food was spoiled by the time the dry ice arrived....
Frazier November 04, 2012 at 05:00 PM
I think that is a TERRIBLE idea. Con Ed is not responsible for all the overgrown and half dead trees lining the city streets. Our city and individual property owners are. Why should Con Ed be responsible for the fact that NYC and NY State and the Federal Government have ignored the known fact that a storm surge would wipe out the Manhattan underground (probably for months). Other countries and cities around the world took the responsibility seriously and have built safeguards to reduce the flooding from ocean storm surges. Is that Con Ed's responsibility? Is it Con Ed's responsibility to repair aging streets, dams, berms, bridges and infrastructure that is failing and causing major outages? Nope. Management 101. You cannot manage that which you do not have authority over. CT is scapegoating utilities for their failures in infrastructure governing. Here we even have one political party pretending that our climate isn't changing and that all this talk is a hoax. All that bill will do is force the utility to charge more to meet an unreasonable demand by flailing lawmakers. The tristate has never experienced damage to this scale---yet Con Ed and other utilities should have been magically prepared for the worst storm damage in modern recorded history. Yet, citizens... well they can't be expected to have prepared over the many years of their lives.
Lori November 04, 2012 at 05:05 PM
I agree that the utility companies need to face consequences for their port response. The answer I believe is that municipalities can contract with out of state crews in the event of declaration of state of emergency, and that the cost is paid by the utility. Con edison has proven time and again that it is unable to handle large emergencies. Local government must be free to seek alternative solutions.
Lori November 04, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Frazier, do you work for con ed? Con Edison is responsible for tree cutting along wires to ensure they are clear. They just do not do a very good job of it. Real electrical crews laugh Con Edison's incompetence. Wait until they come to town -- it will be foxed in a minute.
Rich S. November 04, 2012 at 05:08 PM
My home has electric but my business in Pelham is still out and may be for another week. While this is a severe hardship for me, too many people are really suffering for me to complain too much. My house is standing and we're warm. There is no way to restore powers to hundreds of thousands of people in a few days. Just not possible. It wouldn't be a disaster if all we had to do was flick a switch two days later.
Frazier November 04, 2012 at 05:13 PM
I not sure about people starving--that weren't starving and out of food before Sandy hit. In many communities stores are open and have been for days. I'm sure in southern manhattan that is a different story, but this is Westchester we're talking about. Yes, it is important that the handful of voting places are powered and open. 90 polling places or 90 houses. Polling affects far more and far wider. And often getting a polling place power means restoring part of a neighborhood too. It is about prioritization. Perhaps you also think businesses and gas stations shouldn't get prioritization because nobody lives in those cold and hungry places. Ultimately we are responsible for ourselves. People need to start planning better for themselves and stop with the "me and mine" mentality. The community needs come before an individual home.
Frazier November 04, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Send a bill to God for the groceries. He makes everything happen. People really do think that other people in the world are somehow responsible for footing the bill in life.
Frazier November 04, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Less densely populated areas are ALWAYS later and ALWAYS SHOULD BE. IN cities, apartment building with large numbers of people tend to get lit up quicker because it provides benefit to greater numbers. Residential tree-lined streets with single family houses are further down the list. It isn't a management PR issue--it is a citizen "i'm so important" culture issue. You live is rural, large acre areas--slow recover is one of the "advantages" of living so far away from a neighbor.
Frazier November 04, 2012 at 05:34 PM
I do love a rant from a Laz-Y-Boy Executive about how real executives should run real companies in real industries that they have so little real knowledge of. Lesson in electricity. Each house doesn't black out individually. ConEd doesn't light up one house at a time. Prioritization of polling places and schools will repair damage that will more often than not light a region around those places... often including... wait for it... homes and business, too. Look at that! I have friends in NJ that collected water from a local stream to have flushing water for the toilet and re-newed their old YMCA membership to have someplace to shower after almost a week. Some people strive to make things better while others whine about how others aren't doing enough for them.
Frazier November 04, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Yes, I've seen those tree lined streets with trees way too big and trimmed into giant V's around the utility wires passing through them. The tree's shouldn't be grown that large and it is the CITY's trees in most cases. I don't believe Con Ed can take out and replant a city tree--which is what is needed in many, many cases. Pruning a 30+ foot tree to avoid 15-18 foot high wires is a fools errand. People love their "tree-lined" streets but whine when the tree snap or slap the utility cables around in the wind. We're still waiting for the city of N.R. to remove the dying tree at the front of the house. It has been falling to pieces for about 7 years now. They've finally decided to take it down. Too late, a 15+ foot section snapped and fell in the storm. Luckily it was the side facing the street and not the various cables. So it only blocked traffic and send shards of wood flying in the wind during the storm.
Mom of 4 November 04, 2012 at 05:46 PM
@Frazier - I don't recall ever seeing that message from NYSEG - that I should expect slower recovery than anyone else. If that is indeed the case then I think I'm being ripped off. I believe that I should expect a discounted rate for receiving substandard service!
Mom of 4 November 04, 2012 at 05:55 PM
By the way, why isn't anyone discussing the fact that NYSEG and ConEd should be BURYING the wires! That is the real problem here - not tree-trimming! If all of our wires were underground then the clean-up and restoration would not be as much of a problem.
Regina Smiley November 04, 2012 at 06:09 PM
How about our do nothing town supervisor parsons in lewisboro? There has not been one Nyseg truck fixing anything. Poles and trees still lay where they fell. It' s a ghost town here with nothing getting fixed! Smart idea, Parsons! Keep laying off highway dept workers! We have a whopping 6 guys left for the whole damn town and half of them are retirement age. I am sick and tired of living in Green Acres, maybe Wilbur would make a better mayor here.
Common Sense Protector November 04, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Blaue Vogel makes sense. Voting is still a right many do not have and practicing it is the mark of a democracy. If you don't have power - you will - eventually. That is why it is called a HARDship. Evident from some of these comments -many of you are too soft. You should be ashamed for being so weak. You don't have power - boo hoo. You lost food in a freezer - c'mon that is not a tragedy! Flip the scenario - imagine having the freezer food, but having the people you thought were going to eat it - dead. You cannot feed your kids a HOT breakfast? If that is truly a concern - why not gather up fallen limbs and have an outdoor cookout? Use this time to stay warm and get yourselves moving by clearing away the debris or cut down tree limbs endangering power lines with future storms. Offer to help someone less fortunate, even if you do not know them. This will teach children lessons far greater than anything learned in school. Yes, I have been exactly where many of you are, including having lost a relative to a hurricane. I am willing to bet the majority of the people with the "poor me" attitude are also big fans of "reality" TV. Well folks, true reality just smacked you in the face and you are failing the encounter. If my remarks get you hot under the collar - terrific! You're not so cold anymore.
George Mickatavage November 04, 2012 at 07:32 PM
I wonder what our forefathers would think of us right now? Those who never had the luxury of an electric light, heat from oil, gas or electricity, a microwave oven, television, wifi Internet? How did they survive? Damit they did and so will we. -George from Rye, NY yes, still without power, heat, TV or Internet boo hoo
Balar Gazor November 04, 2012 at 07:49 PM
We want trees ! http://www.larchmontgazette.com/letters/con-ed-may-not-have-right-to-cut-our-trees-letter/ we want uninterrupted power ! we want compensation for de-frosted frozen T-giving Turkey ! we don't want to pay for it ! yeah !
Bob E 2012 November 04, 2012 at 11:14 PM
Polling places before Nursing homes? Your report did not list the Westchester nursing homes who still are without power. I guess that most of the residents don't vote so they don't count.
Rich S. November 05, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Any idea what that would cost? If it were cost-effective to do so, utilities would do it.
michele November 05, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Our forefathers must be spinning in their graves. If there are any local (southern Westchester) women out there who need to charge their electronics and take a hot shower please let me know. My power is back on and I am willing to share.
Lori November 05, 2012 at 12:41 AM
We just don't want stupid. I'm happy to pay to get rid of stupid. Stupid is looking at a problem and failing to see solutions. Stupid is sitting in a dank cave and figuring thats all there is. Thats why the Neanderthals went extinct -- or maybe some survived.
michele November 05, 2012 at 12:45 AM
Those who do have a roof over their heads should think about those who don't. Here is the link for the Westchester Volunteer Center. http://www.volunteer-center.org/ Stay safe, Michele

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