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Still Without Power, Long Islanders Bemoan Finger-Pointing Between Politicians, LIPA

After 15 Days In The Dark, Some Say They Just Want A Return To Normalcy
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, LIPA Crews (credit: CBS 2)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, LIPA Crews (credit: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

ISLAND PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Frustrated Long Island residents are tired of the silence from the Long Island Power Authority and all the talk from politicians.

As the number of power outages dwindle across the Tri-State Area, Long Island still has over 56,000 customers in the dark.

CBS 2′s Jessica Schneider asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo a lot of questions on Monday about LIPA.  He said the utility was unprepared, non-communicative and that LIPA has never properly been held accountable before.

Cuomo is promising that will change.

However, despite the tough talk, people on Long Island said they are tired of politicians pointing fingers and laying blame. After 15 days in the dark, they just want a return to normalcy.

“I want to see my lights back on. I want to see gas coming into the house so I can get some heat.  I’m living in the dark,” said Island Park resident Larry Kushel.

Kushel and his wife Jean are tired of hearing politicians squabble about who is to blame for LIPA’s dysfunction in the wake of Sandy.  They are going into week three on generator power while most of their neighbors are living almost completely in the dark.

“It’s been such devastation down here, that to hear politics, that’s just not the first thing on my mind.  I wish that we’re getting some more support, but we’re obviously not going to get that,” Jean Kushel said.

She said she is not interested in any talk of an investigation, but simply wants her power back.

“It is a system that doesn’t work in this type of crisis. It is a system from a different time and a different place,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo is promising an investigation that could begin within days. The hearings could lead to huge fines or even a complete dismantling of LIPA itself.

LIPA is now promising 99 percent of the outages will be restored by Tuesday night.

The remaining one percent, some 10,000 homes, will take a few more days.

Then there are the 46,000 homes that were flooded.  For those, LIPA said private electricians may certify repairs and plug in meters to speed up restoration.

But for those still in the dark with no idea when their power will return, it’s pure frustration.

“What can you do? All you can do is make phone calls and complain and they’ll send you to this one or send you to that one.  Meanwhile nothing is getting done,” said Larry Kushel.

LIPA denied it has a supply shortage or that it was unprepared.

Meanwhile, a class action lawsuit against LIPA will be filed on Tuesday, alleging breach of contract, gross negligence and fraud.