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Update, Nov. 5: A spokeswoman and operations representative for LIPA both told the Queens Chronicle on Monday that the seven-week figure cited by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall is not correct, and not based on anything the utility has said. LIPA officials are on track to have repairs to the four substations on the peninsula, and to all transmission lines there, complete by the end of this week, they said.
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Update, Nov. 4: 1010 WINS said Sunday that LIPA denied Marshall's claim, but the station did not report a timeline for repairs. In an email to the Queens Chronicle, the utility said there is "a lot of bad information out there" and said an official would lay out its plan for the Rockaways in a subsequent phone interview.
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The Rockaways won't have electricity back for seven weeks, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall claimed she has been told by LIPA.
In an interview with 1010 WINS radio, Marshall said the reason she was given was that a transformer had blown.
The 1010 WINS interviewer pointed out that the Long Island Power Authority has said that its customers still without electricity would get it back within days, and asked Marshall to clarify her answer. She repeated that LIPA said it would be seven weeks before the peninsula has power again. That is a far longer time than any official in any area hit by Hurricane Sandy has said it would take for power to be restored anywhere.
The interviewer, believed by this reporter to be Lee Harris, also asked Marshall if she knew anything about gasoline deliveries coming into Queens. She answered by saying that Modells was providing clothing to victims of the storm. When the interviewer said that he was asking about gasoline and repeated the question, she said Gov. Cuomo had promised free gasoline to storm victims.
During the interview Marshall also said that she had spent the last four days in the Rockaways, that the aftermath of the storm "has consumed my life" and that people are putting items damaged by basement flooding out on the streets for the Sanitation Department to pick up, something she said doesn't look good.
But, she said, the people remain in good spirits.
The interviewer also asked Marshall about any contact she had had with federal officials about the post-Sandy crisis. He pointed out that President Obama promised that any municipal official who calls the administration for assistance will receive a return call within 15 minutes, and repeatedly told Marshall that if she calls and does not get a call back within the promised time, 1010 WINS wants to know about it.
This reporter heard the interview at a little before 2 a.m. Sunday morning (what would have been a little before 3 a.m. if not for the return to Eastern Standard Time). It was not clear when on Saturday it had been recorded.
Mayor Bloomberg on Saturday blasted LIPA for not restoring power to the Rockaways more quickly, but made no mention of any seven-week time frame.
“The Rockaways were hardest hit by the storm, and when it comes to prioritizing, we think that they should be first in line,” the mayor said.
LIPA could not immediately be reached for comment.
The election of a new borough president will take place a year from now.