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Massapequa Residents Upset With LIPA’s Response To Hurricane Irene

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LIPA crews working in Massapequa.  (credit: CBS 2)

LIPA crews working in Massapequa. (credit: CBS 2)

Tony Aiello thumbnail Tony Aiello
Tony Aiello serves as a CBS 2 general assignment reporter. After...
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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…

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