NEW YORK Nov 10 The number of households and
businesses still without power in the Eastern United States
nearly two weeks after Superstorm Sandy hit fell below 300,000
on Saturday, with nearly half of those on New York's Long
Island, government data showed.
The Long Island Power Authority, or LIPA, which has come
under growing criticism over its response to Sandy, still had
130,000 customers without power, half of those in Nassau County
and over 30,000 on the Rockaway Peninsula, according to LIPA
figures. That's down from 207,000 customers on Friday.
In total, 145,000 customers across the affected area had
their power restored over the past day, the Department of Energy
said, leaving 289,239 without power in New York, New Jersey and
West Virginia by Saturday morning.
Some 8.5 million people across nearly two dozen East Coast
states lost power after Sandy delivered an unprecedented blow to
the New York City area. Another 150,000 were cut off when a
Nor'easter blew through a week later.
Other utilities were also hard hit but have recovered more
quickly. New Jersey's Public Service Enterprise Group (PSE&G)
, which had peak outages of some 1.7 million, had
restored power to all but 23,000 of them by Saturday morning,
most of those related to the Nor'easter, PSEG said.
Consolidated Edison, which serves New York City and
Westchester County, had only 15,000 customers without power,
down from over 1 million, according to its website.
Almost all of state-owned LIPA's 1.1 million customers lost
power in Sandy; still more were knocked out by the Nor'easter
that came a week later. It now has 14,000 people, including
8,200 utility workers and tree-trimmers, working in its area.
The utility has been among the slowest to recover, making it
a target of fierce criticism from both local residents and state
politicians. Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Thursday that LIPA
had "failed the consumers," and has threatened to replace the
At LIPA's headquarters in Hicksville on Saturday, residents
vented their anger and frustration at a peaceful protest of a
few hundred people. Two 13-year-old girls held up white
cardboard signs decrying LIPA's slow response. One, in pink
letters, read: "LIPA Stinks!"
One of the girls' mother, former NYPD cop Diane Uhlfelder,
said her family has been without power for 12 days.
"It's been terrible,'' she said. Every night "... we wake up
in the middle of the night and it's freezing. My sister's asthma
has been acting up because of the cold."
John Michno, 36, of Westbury, who is unemployed, said he
lost power the Monday night of the storm, got it back last
Monday, and then lost it again on Thursday.
"It's maddening," he said. "It's so cold in my house it's
been very difficult to sleep. I wake up, turn on the gas on the
stove just to get warm, and then turn it off and try to go back