Pols pressure LIPA to restore power to Rockaways


| tcullen@queenscourier.com |

Photo courtesy of Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder
Photo courtesy of Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder

Nearly two weeks after Sandy struck the Rockaways and devastated southern Queens, politicians at the state and federal level called upon Mayor Michael Bloomberg and several utility companies to restore power back into the region.

The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), the main utility provider for the Rockaways, has come under criticism for what some electeds have called a lack of response to the darkness on the peninsula. Goldfeder said he was disappointed the utility company could not even provide a number sheet of how many were still without power, or when power would be restored.

“I asked LIPA ‘can you provide me with a fact sheet that I can give to people in my community?’ And they said ‘we’re working on it, we’ll have it to you by four o’clock today,’” he said. “Eleven days into this thing and you’re working on your fact sheets and your information for the people of the community? It’s, it’s crazy.”

LIPA has yet to respond to requests for comment.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo, set to represent the peninsula starting in January, said that while the storm — and a Nor’easter just a week later — halted recovery, LIPA needed to give residents a solid time frame of when their lights would be restored.

“It’s been more than a week, but when LIPA says they’re going to restore their power tomorrow, then you know what, people take them by their word, it should be tomorrow — not two days later,” he said. “If you’re going to give a time frame, try and stick to it. Don’t get the people’s hopes up. For safety’s sake, let’s get the street lights up.”

Addabbo and Congressmember Gregory Meeks both said accurate numbers and clear communication was needed between the communities and LIPA.

“People in the affected areas need precise answers to when and how services will be restored, what is being asked of them, and what assistance is available to help them to prepare for the restoration of power, heat and water,” Meeks said.