To tackle what the Long Island Power Authority called an “unprecedented disaster in the Northeast” resulting in power outages to more than 900,000 customers Island-wide, a 5,000-strong force is working around the clock, the power authority wrote in a release sent yesterday to the media.
Locally, according to LIPA’s Web site, lipower.org/stormcenter, yesterday at noon, the largest concentration of power disruptions were in Springs, with 2,399 reported outages, the area referred to as Hardscrabble in East Hampton, which is around Route 114 in East Hampton Village, with 2,234 reports, and Northwest Harbor, with 1,814.
“The damage caused to Long Island’s electric system has been devastating,” LIPA wrote in a release on Tuesday. One thousand line repair and tree crews have been dedicated to assess damage and restore power, backed by thousands of logistics, safety, and administrative personnel. Assistance from outside the region arrived before the storm, and several thousand additional contractor repair crews and logistical support workers arrive daily, LIPA said.
Crews must first rebuild the “backbone of the electric system,” the power authority explained, which entails working on the “high voltage transmission lines that bring power across the Island to the substations.” The storm took out 44 of the 185 substations on Long Island, they said, and a tremendous number of transmission lines.
Once the substations are back online, crews begin work on the distribution lines that bring power into the neighborhoods, which they called “a long, grueling process.”
The work does not always take place near the houses that it affects, they wrote, so lack of a truck does not mean that help is not on the way to restore power. They said that many employees survey damage in their personal vehicles.
Lauren Abrahamsen Corsini, the wife of a LIPA worker, confirmed that on the company’s Facebook page, saying that her husband used his own vehicle, “and had to sit and watch a live wire for 10 hours.”
Once damage is assessed, the first goal for the company is to restore power to hospitals and critical facilities such as emergency services. The company coordinates with government officials at all levels, particularly in clearing roads for emergency responders and work crews.
Outages can be reported online at lipower.org, or by phone at 800-490-0075. Information about outages and ongoing restoration efforts can be found at lipower.org/stormcenter.
The Long Island Power Authority owns the retail electric system on Long Island and provides electric service to over 1.1 million customers in Nassau and Suffolk Counties and the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens.