‘This was not Sandy.’ Thousands still without power as PSEG Long Island draws LIPA comparison
More than 100,000 are still without power three days after Isaias ripped through the region, causing many Long Islanders to lash out at PSEG Long Island.
Making matters worse – many have been unable to even contact the utility because of technical issues that it has largely blamed on Verizon.
Verizon issued a statement Friday, "Verizon Network teams continue to make strong progress in our restoration efforts, especially in the hardest hit areas of Long Island and the Danbury, CT area. On Long Island, we recovered roughly half of the small cells (oDAS) that were out of service."
The combination of long waits for power and communication issues has led many to compare PSEG Long Island’s response to Isaias to LIPA’s response to Superstorm Sandy in 2012 – which knocked out power to more than 1 million.
LIPA's response was considered so poor, and its communication with customers so unacceptable, that Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for an investigation and pushed for change.
Less than a year later, PSEG Long Island was given control.
“So, with all the tragedy we went through with Hurricane Sandy, we thank Hurricane Sandy for ending this tragedy of LIPA,” Gov. Cuomo said at the time.
In 2017, PSEG Long Island explained to News 12 how it would succeed where LIPA failed in terms of storm resiliency.
“We're placing new wire with increased insulation and stronger hardware on the tops of the poles so they can really withstand the force and the wind that a Hurricane would bring,” said John O'Connell, of PSEG Long Island.
He said also said in 2017 that “we place communication right on par with restoration.”
This week, Gov. Cuomo called for another investigation -- this time into how the state's various utility companies, including PSEG Long Island, responded to Isaias.
Officials say Isaias was not Sandy, yet the same problems have arisen.
“This was not a hurricane, and the fact that they failed this test from a communication standpoint makes me wonder – do we have to look at this whole situation again?” asked state Sen. Jim Gaughran (D-Northport).
The utility issued a statement Friday afternoon: