Monday, November 5, 2012

Post-Sandy Post 3

There was a flurry of activity yesterday. In the early afternoon, a Town of Oyster Bay work crew came and removed the trunk and branches of the fallen tree that had been pushed to the sides of the road.
Then, at about 4:00, three LIPA trucks arrived. The crews examined the utility pole that was on a 60-degree angle, discussed options, and went into action. First, they secured the pole by tying it to the other, still-standing tree in front of our house. Then they repaired the cross-beam at the top of the pole, hoisted up the two parts of the heavy-duty line that had been split and spliced them together. Meantime, another worker spliced new wiring to the line from our house to the pole, which was then attached to the line.
Within about ninety minutes, some six days after the lights went out, the power was back on. Needless to say, there was much rejoicing in our house.


There are still about a quarter-million homes and businesses in Nassau and Suffolk waiting to be reconnected. In six-plus days, LIPA has restored power to upwards of 700,000 customers. While that is of little solace to those still in the dark, it can be taken as a sign that they are doing the best they can. Based on what I saw in front of my house, the crews are working quickly and efficiently and should be applauded for their efforts.
Certainly what they do not need is posturing by the Governor, first saying that he will replace the higher-ups if they are not "responsive to their customers" and later saying that there will be an investigation into whether LIPA was adequately prepared for Hurricane Sandy.
Of the latter I can only ask, how could anyone have been "adequately prepared" for the disaster that occurred? And even if there were a plan in place that might be deemed "adequate," who was supposed to pay for it? Should we start paying now so that LIPA can have a plan in place for all of its customers lose power, rather than just 90% of them?


Speaking of paying, we're still waiting for an announcement of a "government investigation" into the price-gouging that is going on at those gas stations that are able to pump fuel. Sparked by media reports that the power outages would limit the availability of fuel, many people took to the streets to fill their tanks. Not surprisingly, news reports of closed stations sparked even more people to join the hunt.
This resulted in blocks-long lines at gas stations and waits of hours to fill tanks, many of which were not really in need of filling. (Come on, how many people normally fill their gas tanks when they have 3/4 of a tank?) Yes, there are certainly people who did not heed warnings and fill up before the storm, and now they need gas to get to work, etc. But how much fuel is wasted by people driving all over looking for an open station and by those sitting in their cars for hours with the motor running?
Meantime, stations that were selling gas for about $3.75 a gallon eight days ago are now charging $4.30 a gallon. Where's the justification for this increase other than, "Hey, here's our chance to rake in a nice pile of extra cash because we have power to pump the fuel and the guy down the road doesn't"?
Where's the governor's sabre-rattling on this one?

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