Storm Recovery Center Opens in White Plains

Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino announced Thursday that the center will open at the Westchester County Center.

A multi-purpose Hurricane recovery center is open at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, offering residents the opportunity to find updated information that has been sometimes lacking in the days since the storm.

Officials from Consolidated Edison, FEMA and social service organizations will be available seven days a week to answer questions about recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy and Wednesday night's nor'easter.

The center will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. "until the last person comes in and needs a question answered", said Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino. 

Kevin Burke, chairman and CEO of Con Edison, said Con Edison representatives will be able to provide more accurate restoration times to the more than 31,000 Westchester residents who remain without power. For more than a week customers have grown frustrated with automated phone calls and a sometimes inaccurate outage map on the Con Edison website.

"We are at a point now where we can provide that information and will do so," Burke said, adding that Con Edison representatives will be able to look up individual customers and provide an accurate restoration time update. Burke said more accurate information was not been available until now because officials were still evaluating the extent of the damage.

"They are going to get honest and accurate information," said Astorino. "That's what they deserve and that's what they are going to have."

Officials from other groups including the United Way, American Red Cross, FEMA and several Catholic Church organizations will also be available to provide assistance and answer questions.

“The idea behind the center is to provide a place where people can get up-to-date information about their personal needs,” Astorino said. “One thing I heard over and over again as I spoke with people around the county was utter frustration in not getting questions answered from Con Ed. In times of crisis, there is no substitute for face-to-face contact with someone who has the information you need to make decisions."

Parking fees as the County Center will be waived. The center will be open from 8 a.m to 8 p.m.

Officials will be available to help residents document damage that occurred during the last two storms. Representatives from the Small Business Association will be available to speak with business owners about low-interest loan packages, Astorino said. The loans are available to replace property damaged or destroyed during the last two storms, Astorino said.

FEMA representatives will be available to help residents who are applying for federal disaster aid. Anyone who accrued property damage during Hurricane Sandy can register online before visiting the center, but officials will be there to help with the next steps in the process, Astorino said. The county will also provide free tetanus vaccines for anyone who has been involved in the cleanup.

But for those without power, the most important questions will be directed toward Con Edison. Burke said he understands people are growing frustrated after days without power, but said his company is doing everything it can.

"This is by far the worst storm we have ever seen in the history of the company," Burke said, later adding that there are certainly lessons to be learned from the storm. 

"I'm very sorry so many people are suffering because they don't have power," Burke said. 

Vegas November 08, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Burke made over 1 million in salary last year. He should be thrown out into the street.
Bill C. November 09, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Can you believe, in this day and age, and here in Westchester County, NY, that there is this level of incompetence? Con Ed, for a week, cannot tell people when they will be able to hook them up, because they are still "evaluating" the problem? Study. Review. Contemplate. NO. We needed action, and we never got it. What we need is politicians who will go to bat for their constituents. Did anyone hear Obama? No red tape. Call everyone back in 15 minutes. Solve problems, don't waste time. Let's all remember this when the next local elections are held.
A Patcher November 09, 2012 at 07:10 AM
I have lived in Westchester County over 65 years and have NEVER experienced the kind of weather and damage we had with "Sandy", i.e. the number of trees that were blown down, the number of power lines pulled down, the number of homes that were damaged by trees, floods, or blown down, the fires, etc, etc. Both Con Ed and NYS Gas & Elec. brought in help from all over the country not to mention all the volunteers who came to help, but the devistation was greater than the man power could handle. There was no way anyone could predict the day of power restoration in each little corner of the county when there was so much devistation. A state Senator said, "At the highest level I am asking the utilities to heighten expectations and do whatever it takes to make the solution a matter of hours or days, not weeks..." !! This was impossible considering the unprecedented amount of storm damage. There simply are not enough utility crew members to cover such a large area. A tremendous amount has been accomplished and the work goes on. I think it is time to say THANK YOU to the utility personnel, and to all crew who were called in, and to those who have worked and are still working so tirelessly with the utility companies, and all the volunteers who so unselfishly have donated their time, energy and money to help where ever they are needed. I am sure everyone is working as quickly as safety allows.
mark November 09, 2012 at 11:58 AM
you are 100% correct
mark November 09, 2012 at 12:01 PM
i believe it takes them a week to evaluate something like this. Unless you are the U.S. Military you have limited resources.
AndYouWannaBeMYLatexSalesman November 09, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Let'sBreakUpIntoGroupsofTwo November 09, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Let's put the "thanks" for Con Ed on hold until all have power back. Then we can thank them for the "speed" with which they got everyone back up.
David Fox November 09, 2012 at 01:43 PM
April, no need to personalize the storm. If you're breathing you know there's never been anything like it in 100 years or more. Con Ed is one thing, volunteers are something else entirely. Re: thanking Con Ed -- that's the very, very, very, last thing I will do as I still sit in darkness, after repeatedly having my hopes dashed by Con Ed's prediction as to when crews would finish the job. Thank you is not the word that comes to mind when describing Con Ed and how they have handled this to date.
Woodcarver November 09, 2012 at 05:09 PM
TO HELP WITH AN ECONOMICALLY PROFITABLE RECONSTRUCTION OF DAMAGED HOMES, DON'T CLEAN UP YOUR TREES BY HIRING A CREW TO THROW THEM IN A DUMP. YOUR WOOD IS VALUABLE. INSTEAD, ORGANIZE A LOGGING COMPANY TO GO AROUND WESTCHESTER, SALVAGE LOGGING ALL THE TREES. The trees can go to a sawmill, and be turned into lumber to help with repairs. Don't create more waste and economic ruin by paying to throw away valuable wood! Contact Suny ESF, the Watershed Agricultural Council, and other organizations to plan a salvage harvest. TOWNS CAN RENT A WOOD MIZER PORTABLE SAWMILL to create a lumber yard for victims of SANDY. The difference between economically profitable Germany and the economically depressed USA is that German residents seized the opportunity to mill their downed trees after Hurricane Lothar, while USA residents waste the wood by feeding it through a chipper!
A Patcher November 09, 2012 at 08:43 PM
To Woodcarver...You make excellent, eye opening suggestions and observations. However, I am not sure this will be seen here on Patch by the appropriate town officials and government departments who could make those decisions.
mark November 09, 2012 at 08:49 PM
its a stupid idea, that was done in forested areas, not where peoples homes were destroyed. there isnt the room or time to do this. BTW, hows leaf mulching this week? easier than ever i bet
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