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Officials Say New Castle Lacks Enough Con Ed Backing

Town supervisor, county legislator, give Tuesday update on post-Hurricane Sandy efforts.

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.

B November 07, 2012 at 08:47 PM
I can only describe Ms. Carpenter as looking like a deer in headlights - confused and lost. The state of emergency was finally declared in New Castle on Monday November 5 - while other local municipalities declared emergencies either before the October 29 storm or soon thereafter. It has come to light that Ms. Carpenter has absolutely no control over ConEd and is unwilling to exert any - and this is so outrageous as to be nearly criminal - while more than 3000 families suffer in the dark and cold. So far, only two houses have burned down and nobody has been killed. Hopefully, we will not lose any more houses and we will not lose any residents before the lights are turned back on. I used to be proud to say I lived in Chappaqua - but now we are the laughing stock of Westchester due to the abject lack of leadership exhibited by our "leaders".
Michele November 07, 2012 at 09:40 PM
We have 5 power lines down and one snapped electrical pole. Power was supposedly estimated to come on tonight. ConEd couldn't do anything today b/c it was just reported today that the power lines can't be fixed until the electrical pole is replaced. TEN DAYS LATER THEY JUST FOUND OUT ABOUT THE POLE!!!!!! Very very frustrating.....
S November 07, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Excellent comment. Throw the bums out! Con Ed lack of response is a disgrace.
Mom23 November 07, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Dont even get me started about all this. I am disgusted to even say I live in this town right now!! Con Ed tells me thy they just assessed the power outage in my specific area 3 days ago???!!! You have to be kidding me!!! What is it going to take for he job to get done... A tradgedy beyond what we have already experienced?
Nora Mackenzie November 09, 2012 at 04:59 AM
I was told by a volunteer firefighter that ConEd REFUSED help from the firefighters. If our DPW and the firefighters and any other volunteers had worked together roads could have been cleared (not talking about live lines entangled with trees). Many streets had only trees blocking the streets. They could have been cleared so that emergency vehicles could have gotten through. I don't see any cooperation among the various agencies in town that would have gotten us back on line more quickly. After last year's snow storm and Irene the cooperation existed and we were on line a lot faster. There should be no question of egos here. Just DO IT.

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