News

Cell Phone Outages ‘Could Get Worse’ As Company Offers Free Cell Charging Stations

Cell phone tower (file/credit: Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Cell phone tower (file/credit: Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Superstorm Sandy knocked out power to millions of customers across the Tri-State Area.

As of 3 p.m. Wednesday, Con Edison reported more than 637,000 customers in the five boroughs are still in the dark.

One company is coming to the rescue in Manhattan, offering free cell phone charging stations at bars north of 39th Street in the borough.

goCharge kiosks house up to 16 built-in chargers that can accommodate most cell phones, smart phones, tablets and mp3 players, according to the company.

Here is a full list of the bars with the charging kiosks:

Irish Exit (978 2nd Ave.)
McCanns (3 W. 46th St.)
Pronto (135 W. 41st St.)
Carriage House (219 E. 59th St.)
O’Flanagans (66th Street and 1st Avenue)
Phoenix Park (206 E. 67th St.)
Saloon (84th Street and York Avenue)
Bar East (1733 1st Ave.)
Brady’s Bar (1581 2nd Ave.)
Genesis (88th Street and 2nd Avenue)
Jack Russells (1591 2nd Ave.)
On The Rocks (696 10th Ave.)
Overlook (225 E. 44th St.)
Vintage (51st Street and 9th Avenue)
American Trash (76th St and 1st Ave)
Bounce (1403 2nd Ave.)
East End Tavern (1589 1st Ave.)

“We are proud to be powering up more New Yorkers’ mobile devices than ever before during this storm recovery,” goCharge CEO David Walke said in a news release. “With plenty of locations in New York City, we encourage all New Yorkers without power to travel to the closest goCharge location to keep their mobile devices charged so they can stay safe and connected.”

The company did not say on its Web site whether cell phone users under the age of 21 would be admitted to the bars to use the chargers, or what their options would be if not.

The goCharge app also now allows customers to locate the closest operating kiosk.

Even with a fully charged phone, many customers in New York have experienced spotty service, with frequent lost calls.

In a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said they are anticipating communication outages could get worse before they get better.

Verizon said six percent of its cell sites remained down in areas hard hit by Sandy, but said all switching and data centers are fully operational.

T-Mobile issued a statement detailing greater outage issues, saying about 20 percent of its network in New York City is out of service.

AT&T did not release specific outage numbers, but all three cell phone companies said they were working to assess and repair all damage, the New York Times reported.