In the days and weeks following Hurricane Sandy, many households were without power, heat or hot water for extended periods of time. Local libraries were filled with patrons checking email, charging gadgets or simply relaxing in a warm environment.
But what if your power remained out for a month with no end in sight?
Kate Kies, a resident of Flagler Drive in the Village of Mamaroneck—an area that sits on the peninsula of land that juts out into the Larchmont Harbor—said that her frustrations began with Con Edison back in August.
Kies said that one of the underground electrical wires that connect to her home was tagged on Aug. 16 by Con Edison as problematic, although she was not told what the exact issue was. Several other homes whose power has been restored also have wires running through that same manhole, she said.
Then came Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 29, which knocked out power for approximately two weeks to Kies and her neighbors in the Orienta section of Mamaroneck.
Con Ed reps arrived arrived two weeks later to restore power to the area, but were unable to assist the Kies, who had recently rewired their basement due to flooding issues.
“We always have poor service from Con Edison,” she said, referring to past power outages in the area.
As other neighbors were put back on the power grid and Kies remained without electricity, heat or hot water, Con Ed repeatedly told them it was necessary to send out a special worker who was equipped to deal with underground wires. That person never arrived.
Kies—the mother of a 9-year-old son—said she shuttled between hotels, a rented apartment and friend’s homes for the first two weeks, before purchasing a small generator to power her bedroom and kitchen.
“It seems like Con Ed has less people to deal with underground wires,” she said.
On Nov. 28, Kies said that a Con Ed worker ran an extension cord from a community dock manhole to their home so that electricity could be restored for the time being. Kies worries that a solution that was most likely intended to be temporary could prove to be unsafe if not remedied quickly.
Village of Mamaroneck Mayor Norm Rosenblum—who has contacted Con Ed repeatedly on behalf of Kies—said that he could understand Kies’ frustration with the utility company.
“[It’s] very understandable frustration at the lack of reply by Con Ed at best and at worst a continuance of poor management we all witnessed during the Hurricane,” he said.
In response, Con Edison Spokesperson Allan Drury said that four homes in the area, including the Keis', had their electrical equipment damaged by floodwaters.
"The owners had to get electricians to certify that their equipment was ready to accept our service. This homeowner did that but when we went to turn on, we were unable to do so because of the problem on a transformer. We will inspect the shunt for safety and plan repairs," he said.
When asked why Keis could expect a technician to come out and why she experienced a delay, he said, "In order to make the necessary repairs, we may have to take other customers out of service in the area for a period of time. We are evaluating how to proceed in a way that will be best for everyone. We installed the shunt to provide the customer with power in the interim."
He added, "I should emphasize that we have no reason to believe that the shunt is unsafe. But since the customer is concerned, we will conduct an inspection."
Drury declined to comment on a specific time frame as to when a full restoration of service could be expected.