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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo is demanding utilities devote their full resources to restoring power in New York City, Westchester and Long Island to the huge quantities of residents who have been in the dark for days.
Nearly 1.3 million customers are still without electricity statewide. While that’s down from about 2.2 million customers who lost power during superstorm Sandy, Cuomo said utilities need be held accountable for their response to the storm.
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“I understand the utilities are working very hard. I understand the workers at the utilities are working very hard,” he said. “I also understand that I represent the people of the State of New York. I represent the people who are right now without power. I represent the people who pay the bills to the utility companies and my position is very simple — I want accountability and I want performance.”
On Friday, Con Edison announced it has restored power to more than 320,000 customers. The company said electricity should be restored to customers in Manhattan and to buildings served by underground power lines in Brooklyn by Saturday.
Cuomo said while that’s great progress, much more needs to be done. He called the power situation in New York “a crisis for the people of this region.”
“I grew up in a place called Queens and there’s a place called Brooklyn and there’s a place called the Bronx and a place called Staten Island and they need their power back on,” Cuomo said. “There’s a place called Westchester and Nassau and Suffolk for LIPA so I’m going to hold these public utilities accountable. I’m going to remind them every day – maybe twice a day.”
Con Ed said support crews are on their way, in addition to 200 line crews coming down from Canada to help get the power back on.
The company said their goal is to have everyone on Staten and Westchester be back on line by the weekend of Nov. 10.
“We’ve got an army of crews that will be going through Westchester and the real problems too are road closures, trees down in the way. It’s a massive job of thousands of wires that need to get fixed up,” Con Ed spokesman Bob McGee told 1010 WINS.
But Cuomo said the utilities should have been better prepared ahead of the storm.
“We knew this storm was coming. We went through this with Hurricane Irene so there was no great shock,” he said. “I assume that they are professionals and they were prepared.”
The governor added that power companies are state regulated and have an obligation to their paying customers to get the lights back on as quickly as possible.
“They are businesses and they are businesses that get paid by the consumer for a service and I want that service delivered. People pay for power and I want people to have the power that they pay for,” Cuomo said. “We want them to do their job.”
The New York National Guard has also deployed 600 troops to Westchester and Rockland counties to work with power crews to find downed power lines in an effort to expedite the restoration process.
Soldiers have been deployed to parts of Long Island as well.
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