Utilities Making Slow Progress to Restore Power

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Residents and merchants in areas hardest hit by last weekend’s storm were still trying to recover as thousands remained without power on Wednesday afternoon.

By 4:30 p.m., more than 14,000 Con Edison customers in Westchester were without electricity, including about 2,700 in North Castle, 1,870 in New Castle, about 1,750 in Yorktown and just over 1,000 in Mount Pleasant, according to figures provided by the utility. Con Edison is still aiming to have all of its customers in the county back on line by midnight Thursday.

New York State Electric & Gas was reporting 15,000 of its Westchester customers were still without power. Among the most widespread was in Yorktown and Somers, with more than 3,000 customers in each municipality still out. Another 6,000 customers were still out in Putnam and Dutchess counties.

NYSEG officials projected that most customers still without power will have their properties restored by Friday night and all customers should be back on line by early next week.

Pickups of dry ice were made available on Wednesday at the Muriel Morabito Community Center at 29 West Brook Drive in Cortlandt and at the IBM campus, 205 Business Park Drive in Armonk. Check with individual municipalities’ websites for other pick up locations.

In North Castle, where crews first had to clear roads before power could begin to be restored, Supervisor William Weaver said Con Edison’s job was made more difficult by scores of downed trees.

“Their ability to restore power is hampered by significant damage to the delivery system here in North Castle,” he said late Tuesday. “Every location where there is a wire down requires Con Edison personnel to judge when the situation is safe for workers to cut up and remove the tree and begin restoration efforts.”

He said crews had been mobilized from out of state to help with the efforts and a second liaison officer was brought in to work from town hall.

Meanwhile, both of the area’s congressional representatives. Rep. Nita Lowey and Rep. Nan Hayworth called on President Obama to declare a disaster declaration for the area that would put communities in line for federal aid to recoup many of the costs.

State Senator Greg Ball also announced Wednesday that he would be holding a press conference on Saturday afternoon at the Putnam Valley Senior Center with Somers Supervisor Marybeth Murphy and Carmel Supervisor Ken Schmitt where he is expected to call for an investigation into poor response times and communications failure in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.

“This is not a third-world country,” Ball said in a statement. “These companies need to begin to more immediately respond to abandoned customers, struggling for basic answers and info.”

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