Power problems: PSEGLI criticized for storm response
PSEG Long Island is being criticized for its storm response after hundreds of thousands were left without power Tuesday afternoon.
As of Wednesday evening, affected PSEG customers dropped to about 160,000, with nearly 260,000 restorations so far, according to PSEG. The PSEG website contradicted that number Wednesday night though, where it says affected customers was at around 280,000.
Officials say the website data doesn't reflect how quickly the problem is being fixed since out-of-region crews can't report their updates in real time.
At the height of Isaias, 430,000 people did not have power.
Long Islanders say they have been having trouble getting in touch with PSEG Long Island about power problems and that they are not getting answers about when their power would be restored.
Many residents say they were unable to call or text the utility to report outages and downed power lines during the storm.
The online outage map also was not updated until well into the evening Tuesday, hours after Isaias had already passed.
PSEG Long Island now says 85% of customers should have power back by Friday.
On Tuesday, PSEG referenced working with Verizon in order to resolve "communications issues" customers were having. Verizon released a statement Wednesday, saying, "The vast majority of our wireless and wireline networks are performing as usual in the Northeast. As customer issues have arisen, we've been working around the clock to resolve them and have deployed portable network assets in areas where coverage and capacity have been impacted by commercial power outages."
In regards to specifically referencing PSEG, Verizon says, "We cannot speak to customer specific issues."
PSEG COO Dan Eichorn says capacity has increased in terms of their ability to handle phones calls and texts.
"We made some changes to the systems last night. They're performing better today. We still don't feel it's adequate," he says.
On Wednesday, elected officials said they wanted to know what went wrong. News 12 heard from both of Long Island's county executives on the subject.
"Clearly, there's a communication issue. I think it's too early to diagnose what that problem was, but it is crucial that we determine that for storms moving forward," County Executive Steve Bellone said at the county's highway yard in Commack.
Once the power is restored, some elected officials from both sides of the aisle are calling for a formal investigation into what went wrong. State Sen. Jim Gaughran called the response "disgraceful."
PSEG Long Island blamed the problem on a telecommunications glitch, and says more than 2,000 technicians are working 16-hour shifts to get the power back on.
Many people say they understand it might take awhile to turn the power back on, but the lack of communication has been frustrating.
"Now and since last night there's just been a busy signal, you can't even leave a message," says Jon Suarez, of Brentwood. "There's no voicemail. There's nothing. I tried texting them, thinking they'd get a message, but to no avail."