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More Than 3,000 Queens Households Still Without Power a Week After Storm

Downed trees and power lines at 172 Street, between 33rd and 35th Avenues, in North Flushing on Aug. 10 (Courtesy of Council Member Paul Vallone’s office)

Aug. 11, 2020 By Allie Griffin

More than 3,000 Queens households are still without power a week after winds from Tropical Storm Isaias took down trees and power lines.

As of 10:15 a.m. today, 3,645 households in the borough still do not have power.

Power in the three other outer boroughs has been largely restored, however thousands of customers in Queens and Westchester county are still in the dark.

The storm produced gusts of up to 70 miles per hour and caused approximately 300,000 Con Edison customers across the greater New York City region to lose service.

Con Edison has come under fire for the delayed repairs.

The company first estimated that customers would get power back by Sunday night at the latest and then by Monday night when they didn’t meet their Sunday deadline.

Yet, it’s now one week after the storm hit New York City and thousands of residents are still without power in Queens, Westchester and the Bronx.

Many local officials in Queens condemned Con Edison for not preparing better for the storm.

“Unacceptable is an understatement,” Acting Borough President Sharon Lee said. “ConEd has utterly and spectacularly failed Queens.”

The company’s own numbers show it surged power restoration in other boroughs, but deprived Queens — where the greatest number of customers lost power in the city — of the same urgency, Lee added.

She said patience for Con Edison “has rightfully long run dry.”

“The only thing reliable about ConEd post-Isaias has been its consistent failure to communicate accurately and effectively to its customers and representative officials.”

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez condemned Con Edison’s management and said it is clear they weren’t prepared for the storm.

“In the peak of summer, our elderly are being trapped indoors without A/C and, given the risk presented by COVID-19, they have few safe options for leaving their home to find respite,” she said in a statement.

Four elected officials are calling for more action.

City Council Members Paul Vallone, Adrienne Adams, Robert Holden and Justin Brannan want accountability and emergency council hearings on the city’s lack of emergency preparedness and vulnerable infrastructure, specifically in the outer boroughs.

“Tropical Storm Isaias created a perfect storm for the disastrous restoration response received by residents across the borough of Queens,” Adams said in a statement. “It is shameful that thousands were kept in harm’s way due to Con Edison’s lack of ability to do the work that is expected during an emergency.”

She said the City Council must immediately facilitate hearings to learn the root causes “of such crisis unpreparedness.”

Vallone said patience has worn out in Queens, where close to 50,000 households lost power following the storm and nearly 10,000 tree-related complaints were filed.

“In the last week, we’ve seen clear communication breakdowns, agencies blaming agencies, crews showing up and leaving without explanation, the collapse of aging infrastructure and old or ailing city trees, and a concerning lack of coordination between the Parks Department, Con Edison and OEM,” Vallone said.

“The result: our hardest hit neighborhoods have been left in the dark. It’s more apparent than ever that we need accountability and reform,” he added.

Holden said the devastation Queens residents have faced as a result of the storm was preventable on many levels.

“It’s extremely frustrating that Queens residents were left to suffer amid the chain reaction of city failures exposed by Tropical Storm Isaias,” he said.

Photo: Council Member Holden (Facebook)

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