PSEG Long Island plans to restore power to the remaining 400 Long Island customers by midnight who haven’t had electricity since last Tuesday, when Tropical Storm Isaias hit.
“We remain committed to getting all customers related to last Tuesday’s storm restored by midnight tonight,” PSEG President and Chief Operating Office Daniel Eichhorn said on a media call Wednesday.
PSEG has 6,500 line workers and tree trimmers who are working to restore power from a host of states and continues to accept any other workers who are available.
Eichhorn assured residents that their bills would reflect the energy they used, which means that they won’t have to pay for electricity during the time their power was out.
The total number of outages in Long Island, including those who have been without power since the storm hit, stands at 10,500, which is a number that might increase this evening amid the predicted thunderstorms. Of those who are out, approximately 7,500 have lost power related to the storm, although Eichhorn said they are unlikely to have been without power for over a week.
Amid concerns about the pace of restoring power, the number of homes and businesses who were out and a communications problem on the day of the storm that made it difficult for residents to connect with their power company, Eichhorn said PSEG plans to use this experience to improve on the company’s storm-related processes.
Once the company restores power, PSEG will do a self assessment, which will include a “deep dive” into “lessons learned,” at which point the company will make immediate and long term changes to makes sure they are ready for the next storm.
Indeed, County Executive Steve Bellone (D) joined a growing chorus of politicians who expressed their concerns about the company’s readiness for the remainder of the hurricane season, which extends through the end of November.
“As we move towards the fall, we could be struck with a much more significant storm than this tropical storm,” Bellone said on a separate media call. “If that is the case, these issues need to be fixed. They need to be resolved before then.”
Eichhorn said PSEG hasn’t given much thought at this point to making the company’s assessment about its performance during the storm public.
Meanwhile, New York State Senator James Gaughran (D-Northport) called for the resignation of Eichhorn and Long Island Power Authority President Thomas Falcone.
Asked about the call for his resignation, Eichhorn said he was “aware of that” and the response of the company to the storm will be “part of our lessons learned and review. I’m pretty proud of the restoration efforts from our team. People have worked extremely hard and are very dedicated.”
Eichhorn added that PSEG would look into the IT issues that caused the frustration from customers and would “get better” and “make sure, for the next storm” they are “fully prepared.”
Eichhorn said he recognized the frustration people have been feeling, especially during a pandemic. Amid a discussion of residents in Cold Spring Harbor who blocked in a utility crew, preventing them from leaving until they restored electricity, Eichhorn said he understood that it’s a tough time to lose power, especially when so many people are working from home.
Still, he urged residents not to limit the ability of crews to react to the order of jobs. When crews are blocked in, they might help one or two homes or families at the expense of 100 or 200, he said.
PSEG wasn’t prepared today to discuss the possibility of reimbursing families for lost food during the outages, even as several politicians, including Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) requested that the company provide $500 to each household that lost power for more than two days.