Consolidated Edison CEO Kevin Burke has given his assurance that workers will not be diverted from Westchester into other regions hit by Hurricane Sandy, Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino said Wednesday.
The county executive announced Wednesday that he met with Burke as well as NYSEG CEO Mark Lynch to discuss the recovery effort following Hurricane Sandy.
“We have been assured that Con Edison is not diverting any resources from Westchester to New York City or other parts of the region. We will hold the company to its promise.”
Consolidated Edison is tasked with restoring power to hundreds of thousands of people from Westchester to lower Manhattan and Queens. The utility company reported Wednesday that 176,000 Westchester customers remained without power. That number was down only 7,000 from the day before. NYSEG reported restoring power to only a few hundred customers since Tuesday.
The company leaders told Astorino that the storm damaged critical substations and transmission lines and that repairs must be made to those areas first. Both companies have also struggled to reach affected areas because of downed trees and other debris.
“Our biggest priority is working with Con Edison and NYSEG to get power restored and to assist our municipalities in removing the fallen trees,” Astorino said.
Hospitals, nursing homes and other critical-care companies that have been without power since Monday will be the highest priority, Astorino said.
Astorino, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand toured the region during a helicopter flyover Wednesday. Astorino said the tour revealed extensive damage and power outages throughout Westchester County. The officials also toured some of the areas hardest hit by floods, including parts of Long Island and Breezy Point, Queens.
“While other communities suffered more substantial flood damage, Westchester was hardest hit by downed trees that are blocking hundreds of streets in our county," Astorino said.
More than 48 hours after the worst of the storm passed through the region, Astorino said the county's emergency operations center also remains active around the clock and that conference calls with local municipalities will continue on a daily basis.
Astorino also said he is confident that the county will qualify for federal disaster relief through FEMA. The county must document about $3.2 million to qualify for federal relief while the entire state must accrue about $25 million in damage.
“There’s no doubt we will be able to meet that threshold for a disaster declaration,” Astorino said. “We are working with our municipal partners to assemble the information we need.”