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Westchester County Executive Sounds Off On Power Companies

Astorino Says Con Ed and NYSEG's Response Simply Not Good Enough
Westchest County Sandy damage

For a week this gigantic tree lay draped across wires on Croton Heights Road in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. (Photo: Jeff Capellini/CBSNewYork.com)

Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There were still plenty of people without power in Westchester County on Monday, but County Executive Rob Astorino said there was good news.

He told WCBS 880 on Monday that many schools have power and only a handful were without.

“For the most part, kids are going back to school today and that’s a great thing,” Astorino said.

He said there were 82,000 without power in the county.

“That is still very significant,” he said. “NYSEG had said by yesterday that we would have the vast majority of their system up and running. That’s not the case. So, we need to know why and what they’re going to do about it today. So, that’s a big concern.”

LISTEN: Rob Astorino On WCBS 880

He said he believed that on Election Day, which is Tuesday, most polling places will have power.

He said the National Guard was clearing out debris from Bedford, North Castle and Lewisboro.

He said the state Department of Transportation was on the scene of problems in Yonkers and the New York State Thruway Authority was working in Rye.

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“So, there’s still a lot of cut and clear operations at this point, and now we have to turn full restoration,” he said.

Con Edison was responding to outages all over the county and estimated restoration by Friday.

WCBS 880’s Steve Scott asked Astorino: “Have you had that pointed conversation with Con Ed about what is taking so long and what are they telling you?”

Astorino: “Multiple times. You know, if I could climb a poll and hook up wires, I’d be doing that right, and I think that’s what the frustrating point is for some people.”

“It is cold at night and people are not really taking advantage of the shelters, believe it or not. We’ve only had a couple hundred people utilize the 12 shelters. So, they want to stay home, but it is getting very very cold and, you know, Con Ed has brought more and more crews in, they’re saying. NYSEG says the same thing,” Astorino said. “But there was a significant amount of damage all over the place. That we understand, but at this point, it’s why do we still have some roads closed and why aren’t we seeing significant, each day, significant progress? We’re seeing some, but not enough yet and I think, today and tomorrow, we better have a lot done.”

WCBS 880’s Michael Wallace asked whose responsibility it is to get those roads cleared.

“Well, it’s each municipality’s responsibility, but they can’t clear the road if there’s a wire that’s down and has not been certified as de-energized. No one’s going to touch a wire if it’s still live. So, a Con Ed crew or a NYSEG crew has to be there to say the line is dead,” Astorino said. “So, that’s been a little frustrating as there’s not enough of those people in each municipality.”

He said that’s also a problem from a public safety perspective.

“That’s gotta be fixed ASAP,” he said.

Al Jones of 1010 WINS saw crews in action in Harrison.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports

Payloaders attached with huge tongs grabbed at the branches piled along Crawford Road. Power lines and transformers were still dangling from damaged poles.

“Hopefully by Tuesday or Wednesday, so that brings us into eight or 10 days without power in this area,” one resident said.

He said the generators made it bearable, but getting gas was a problem.

Meanwhile around the corner, “Sandra” had had enough Monday.

“No power. Seven days. I’m with a baby, pregnant. It’s really cold,” she said. “It’s very uncomfortable, but thank God nothing happened.”

Some other good news was that the trains were running.

WCBS 880’s John Metaxas In Katonah

WCBS 880’s John Metaxas reported that crews from NYSEG were doing the painstaking work of trying to restore power to Westchester County, but it wasn’t happening fast enough for some people, who had decided to leave their homes.

WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell: Dramatic Stories

As life slowly returned to normal in Hastings-on-Hudson, Assistant Fire Chief Bob Russack said his worn out guys were just getting prepared for the next storm, hoping that all the trees that were going to fall were already down.

He told WCBS 880 reporter Irene Cornell there were some dramatic rescues, starting with a 93-year-old woman who had a tree come crashing right through her bedroom. She was saved because she followed routine and was up having her usual after-dinner cup of tea.

Then there was a 100-year-old woman in the same neighborhood.

“As we’re trying to get around the house, she was saying that she was having trouble walking, just barely shuffling and just about then another tree came down, about 20 feet it was, with a big crash,” Russack said. “Well, she beat us to the car after that.”

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