Thousands lose power as wind storms rock the North Shore

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A tree leans on a house following the wind storm Tuesday in Port Washington. (Photo by Ed Condon, Jr.)

“So … that was interesting,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said at a news conference Wednesday morning.

Her comment came a day after high winds from Tropical Storm Isaias rocked Long Island, toppling trees and leaving hundreds of thousands of residents without electricity.  Some community leaders called for an investigation into power company PSE&G Long Island for perceived ineffectiveness.

Curran said that a lack of rain during Tuesday’s storm led to “minimal flooding,” though many downed trees, road closures and power outages took place across the county. Sustained winds reached over 40 miles per hour, with gusts to 80 miles per hour.

“The winds in the storm Isaias and the destruction sustained from them are something we have not seen in years, and hope to not see in the near future,” Curran said.

She said 388 power wires were down, 144 traffic hazards, including black traffic signals, were reported, and hundreds of roads were closed, but no fatalities had been reported due to the storm.

The Glen Cove area was the hardest hit on the North Shore, according to data from PSE&G. In the City of Glen Cove, 5,982 customers lost power, while 1,685 were affected in Sea Cliff, 645 in Glenwood Landing and 953 in Glen Head. PSE&G estimates that power will return to the area at various times on Friday.

The Great Neck peninsula was also heavily affected, with 796 customers losing power in Lake Success, 340 in Thomaston and 1,060 in Kings Point. Over 5,200 customers were affected in the Great Neck villages, with the area as a whole estimated to have power return at different times on Friday.

The Port Washington peninsula was hit thard, according to data from PSE&G. 979 customers were affected in Sands Point, with 492 in Manorhaven, 585 in Port Washington North, 175 in Baxter Estates, and a combined 607 in the Plandomes. Unincorporated areas in Port had 3,745 outages. PSE&G estimates that the peninsula will be out until Friday, saying that power will be restored to various areas at staggered times of the day.

Nearly 1,700 customers lost power in unincorporated areas of Manhasset, while 730 Flower Hill customers lost power, 652 were affected in Munsey Park, and 946 in North Hills.

A combined 3,984 customers were affected in areas surrounding Roslyn. PSE&G estimates that power will return to the area at various times on Friday.

In New Hyde Park, 210 customers lost power, and nearly 1,200 customers were affected in Garden City Park. In Mineola, 2,670 lost power, and in the Willistons and surrounding areas, 1,604 customers were affected. PSE&G estimates that power will return to the area at various times on Friday.

PSE&G’s perceived ineffectiveness in the wake of the storm came under criticism from numerous local officials at the town, county and state levels.

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin called PSE&G’s response “flawed” in a news conference Wednesday morning, especially in the company’s first major challenge since taking over from National Grid in the wake of Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

“PSEG Long Island was supposed to be the answer to the problems customers experienced in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy,” Clavin said. “While Isaias was certainly a serious storm that caused widespread damage, it was no Superstorm Sandy. Unfortunately, customers experienced ‘déjà vu,’ as many experienced busy phone lines, an inoperative text-in outage system and a malfunctioning website. I think many would agree with me that PSEGLI’s grade for this storm is a resounding failure.”

Clavin called upon Gov. Andrew Cuomo to investigate the company’s response.

“I’m asking the Governor to have the appropriate state authorities investigate PSEGLI’s utter failure during this storm,” Clavin said. “PSEG Long Island was brought on to correct the mistakes of the past, but Isaias exposed a series of flaws that resulted in a botched response. This is unacceptable. Customers deserve answers, not a ‘busy signal.’”

Following her news conference on Wednesday morning, Curran posted a screen shot from the PSE&G website on her Facebook page, circling the estimated restoration time of Sept. 3 at 11:45 a.m. for Nassau County.
“Unacceptable is an understatement,” Curran wrote.
State Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck) said that she and her colleagues in the Long Island delegation of the state Senate would be calling for an investigation into PSE&G’s response.
PSE&G said it continued to deploy crews to restore power.

“We have made great progress overnight, restoring more than 220,000 customers affected by the strongest tropical storm to hit the area in years, and we will not rest until everyone’s power is back on,” said Daniel Eichhorn, president and COO of PSEG Long Island and chief customer officer of PSEG Long Island and PSE&G.

“We have also overcome many of the issues with Verizon that affected our call center operations yesterday. We understand how critical it is to share accurate and timely information with our customers and we continue working diligently to fully resolve these issues. We urge customers to use the automated voice response system whenever possible: 1-800-490 0075.”

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