Nine days after Hurricane Sandy devasted New Castle, the town's officials are fuming over what they say is a lack of supporting manpower from Con Edison for the cleanup.
Town Supervisor Susan Carpenter stated that they can't get more information from Con Edison on its progress for restoring power.
“We cannot get information from Con Ed about where those restoration crews are, so I know it's frustrating," she said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference and status update. "It's frustrating to us, it's frustrating to me personally.”
Carpenter is among the more than 3,000 New Castle customers of the utility who have not had power since the storm hit.
The information that the town does have is broad. Carpenter stated, as of Tuesday afternoon, 3,050 customers in town still lack power, which is nearly half of all customers in New Castle. Meanwhile, the number of Con Edison-backed crews has grown in town to 11: 10 focusing on restoration and one focusing on road safety and clearance in conjunction with the town's Department of Public Works.
The lack of more clearance crews is a significant bottleneck, however. Carpenter explained that the town could have three DPW crews working at once but would need two more clearance crews from the power company. Con Edison has not been supportive of the town's requests for more, she explained.
Elected officials, who know about frustration from residents over the restoration pace, explained that they made good-faith efforts to get Con Edison to move faster.
“We have been bull dogs with Con Edison," said County Legislator Mike Kaplowitz.
Kaplowitz, in a video of the press conference, said that they have emails from constituents that will be given to Con Edison, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office and the Public Service Commission (PSC), a state regulatory body that oversees power companies.
Cuomo, who is a New Castle resident, was asked Tuesday by Patch about the large number of town customers in town still without power. He called the town's situation "unacceptable."
In total, there were 165 restoration crews throughout Westchester County, Kaplowitz explained, with 10 of them in New Castle. The town now has a total of 53 personnel working on the problem.
However, Kaplowitz noted that New Castle still has a large number of blocked or not fully passable roads, totaling at 54 out of roughly 300 in the county.
“It's not fair, it's not reasonable and it's not acceptable," he said.
Kaplowitz also suggested considering the idea we not renewing Con Edison's license next time it comes up for state renewal, while Carpenter would like for the PSC to hold a hearing in New Castle about the company's performance.
Going into Wednesday, the town faces a mixed bag of news. The Chappaqua Library announced that it will reopen on Wednesday, while power was restored on Tuesday. However, the town faces a nor'easter storm, Carpenter said, including high winds and snow.
“This is not good news, " she said.
Con Edison believes that the new storm coming will create new outages, it stated in a press conference call.