Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Post-Sandy Post 4

The Verizon truck parked in front of our next-door neighbor's house yesterday signalled that our block is finally "fully-connected" again. They were the last to have electric power restored -- on Saturday evening -- and we were only a day ahead of them as far as phone service; our phone was finally back in service late Sunday afternoon.

We got our cable and internet connection restrung last Thursday. The work was done by a man who said that he didn't mind the cold and the snow on the ground because he was from Wisconsin. He worked on our house as well as those of two of our neighbors, refusing our offers of coffee and water. (He did accept some fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies Laurie had just baked.)

Still to be done are the removal of the tree stump and sidewalk repair, replacement of the fence, and repair of the solar panels on the roof.

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Having been in the dark for six days, I can certainly understand the anger being expressed by my fellow Long Islanders who waited (and waited) for their power to be turned on. There is no gratification knowing that 95% of us have been reconnected if you are in the remaining 5%.

What I don't understand is the disparagement of LIPA repairmen by people who had the work done by crews from Tennessee, Florida, Quebec and many other areas around the U.S. and Canada. All of these men and women -- including those who work for LIPA -- appeared to be working exhausting schedules to replace snapped utility poles and restring downed wires. Last Wednesday afternoon, with heavy wet snow coming down, I saw a sizable crew that appeared to be both LIPA and out-of-state workers replacing two downed poles and stringing new wires.

If there is something to direct anger at, it is the management and coordination of all these crews to get the maximum work done in the shortest period of time. I have no idea what amount of staff is necessary to collect and assess all the information coming in and then coordinate the crews in the field. It may be determined that LIPA management was under-prepared for this and was then overwhelmed, but for those who have been doing it these past two weeks, it has to be a thankless job.

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