Massapequa Residents Upset With LIPA’s Response To Hurricane Irene

MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (CBS 2) — Sunday will be a day of thanks for the powerless on Long Island.

LIPA says that is when 99 percent of its customers will finally have their power back. However, many are left wondering if LIPA and local governments did all they could to prepare for the storm, and the aftermath.

Another day without power in a part of Massapequa meant another hot dog on the grill in the Gramegna backyard.

“It’s kind of getting old,” Joe Gramegna told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

LIPA finally showed up on Ohio Street Friday afternoon after residents called repeatedly.

“They told us the ticket was closed and we had power,” Wendy DeLuca said. However, she says the power didn’t come back.

Other area residents lamented the situation and expressed their opinions about the utility company.

“It’s incomprehensible, the level of incompetence on the part of LIPA,” Tom Ward said.

LIPA chief Michael Hervey said he feels your pain. “It’s been a difficult, difficult week for many of our customers,” he said.

But did the utility do all it could to help ease that pain? For instance, Con Edison gave ice to customers during the prolonged outage, but LIPA did not, Aiello reported.

“It’s not to that degree of a disaster,” Hervey said.

But Cathy Gramegna said ice would have been nice. “Because this was like a scavenger hunt for us. We would go to grocery stores, 7Eleven, convenience stores.”

Con Edison trims trees around power lines until there is at least a 10-foot clearance. LIPA requires just a 6-foot clearance, Aiello reported.

“I think Long Islanders love their trees, so there’s a balance there,” Hervey said.

“I think that’s absurd, I think they have to really go back and take a look at their policy making,” Ward said.

On Ohio Street where one particular tree took down power lines, the town of Oyster Bay is also getting blamed. Last July, the DeLuca family sent the town a letter, saying the tree looked ready to topple over.

The town sent out an inspector, then sent them a letter saying the tree removal was denied because it was found to be healthy and not a hazard.

Residents hope LIPA and local government take a long hard look at the handling of this storm to better prepare for the next.

How would you rate LIPA’s response following Irene?  Share your thoughts in the comments section…

More from Tony Aiello
  • Carol

    The employees are doing the best they can. Most really do care about getting people back their power. They are working 16 hr. days and are now giving up the Labor Day weekend as well. However there are less and less experienced employees due to forced retirements and layoffs from National
    Grid which services LIPA customers. NG is a British company, are they really tired to these communities. They historically would rather have an all contractor work force than hire employees. Its better for the bottom line. Its ridiculous that the largest utility in the Northeast is foreign owned. You can thank our politicians for deregulating the utility industry to increase competition. Are you paying less for gas and electric lately, I think not. What a crock.

  • Frank L.

    Ok. Maybe I was lucky and had power throughout this whole mess, but last year before I took a tree down in my backyard, my power would go out for hours even if we had a light thunderstorm. And to top it off, my parents had nearly 6 trees fall in their neighborhood, one of them falling on their house and my brothers car, and have been without power as well. They will probably be without power much longer than you. Communities and families need to pull together to help each other, not LIPA. They are working around the clock to try and help. My family has been having me make ice at work, and have been coming over my house to use my internet and charge their electronics. Our neighbor even wheeled over his portable generator to help us charge an air compressor so we could fill a few cars tires with air and get them out of the way for tree removal crews. You people from Massapequa are all a bunch of whiners. Why don’t you go complain to your own family and friends who have power about THEIR lack of help in these times. I’m so sick of your “poor me” attitude. Just remember that Massapequa was not the only town, city, or state effected by the storm so get over yourselves. It could have been much worse. Your BBQ could have floated into the Atlantic Ocean. Then you wouldn’t be able to do anything with those hot dogs other than choke on them. Selfish!!!

  • Barbara

    I’m from Commack and have to tell you that we had the best experience ever with LIPA. The two gentlemen from LIPA in our area ironically both named John were wonderful. They kept the homeowners in our area informed and genuinely seemed to care and listen to us all. One of them made a promise to us to check on us and he did come back twice to make sure we were fine. I can only wish all LIPA employees were this caring and nice. The people on the phone were terrible and gave out wrong information. LIPA should hire more people like this.

  • Sauce is red, gravy is brown!

    Hopefully they will get power by Sunday so the can make sauce for their meatballs and sausages. If they call it gravy we know that they are siciliano.

  • grobert

    To paraphrase a favorite song/reminder: “They faced the hardest times one can imagine….forced to eat hotdogs for several days, gimme a break

    • joe america

      Really!!! Oh the humanity!!!! LOL

  • Lawn-Guy Land

    It’s outrageous that places like Hempstead and Elmont are up and running while REAL Long Islanders have to wait for power to be restored. LIPA should take power away from Hempstead and divert it to Massapequa.

    • joe america

      “REAL” long islanders? you really are in the dark….

      • Lawn-Guy Land

        Yes, REAL Long Islanders.

      • joe america

        bet lawn guyland is a tea bagger mofo

    • Frank L.

      Lawn-guy as in landscaper? Shouldn’t you be out there helping to cut down trees instead of complaining? Oh wait, if you are in the landscaping business, god forbid you do something for the good of all without being compensated financially. Quit your complaining. As I posted, my parents will be without power for the next week while all their neighbors have power. We have pulled together as a community to help out. If you are really so upset about it, call your politicians for help not LIPA.

  • Brooklyn's west of here!!

    Maybe these unhappy Massapequa residents should move back to Bensonhurst where they seemingly originally come from. Or, better yet, go over the Gangplank to Staten Island’s South Shore.

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