Governor Cuomo’s Moreland Commission held its second hearing last night in Westbury to listen to testimony from Long Islanders about LIPA’s performance in the preparation, management and response to Hurricane Sandy.
LIPA representatives briefly discussed its hiring of 10,000 outside contracts as line workers and tree trimmers. Five thousand more outside help were hired in other capacities, totaling more than 50,000 workers that were hired by LIPA to respond to Hurricane Sandy. LIPA admittedly had difficulty in managing the influx of outside workers in not only dispatching crews, but in providing shelter for these out-of-town workers.
Long Island Rail Road President Helena Williams praised LIPA in its response to its needs. The LIRR gets most of its power from LIPA in Nassau and gets its power from New York Power Authority (NYPA) through Con Edison for its power in Queens and Manhattan. The LIRR was pleased that restoring power to the LIRR was made a high priority.
A representative from AT&T requested that cell towers be made a high priority. As several homes on Long Island no longer have land lines that operate without electricity, cell service is essential for communicating urgent information and for reporting emergencies.
County Executives Mangano and Bellone and Legislator Denenberg testified about the lack of communication and inaccurate information being provided by LIPA. Suffolk County Executive Bellone complained that after nearly two weeks of getting inaccurate information from LILPA, he had to send county employees directly to the substations. Legislator Denenberg, after only a couple days of receiving bad information, went directly to the substations himself, travelled on the trucks with LIPA and made sure that they made power was returned to his district and that areas were prioritized. Legislator Denenberg, besides writing legislation to require gas stations to have alternative power, also spoke about the County’s need to make our sewage treatment plants a high priority.
Legislator Denenberg, after holding several disaster relief forums, formed a Disaster Response Taskforce to find solutions to LIPA’s and other failures that resulted in the devastation that Hurricane Sandy caused and ensure that viable solutions are implemented.
Claudia Borecky, Chair of Legislator Denenberg’s Disaster Response Taskforce, testified at the Moreland Commission’s hearing and submitted the following report. If anyone is interested in joining Legislator Denenberg’s Disaster Response Taskforce or has any suggestions or comments on this issue, please call Claudia Borecky at 972-6988, email claudiaborecky@gmail.com or Legislator Denenberg at ddenenberg@nassaucountyny.gov. We will be scheduling another meeting very shortly to prepare a comprehensive report to be submitted to the Moreland Commission before or at its next December 20, 2012 hearing.


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