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Queens Chronicle

Howard Beach still without electricity, 11 days after Sandy

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Posted: Friday, November 9, 2012 5:14 pm | Updated: 12:59 pm, Thu Nov 15, 2012.

Con Edison trucks and vans bustled through the residential streets of Howard Beach on Friday morning, showing a cynical community that has been without electricity that they are, as their slogan states, “on it.”

As of Thursday night, Con Edison said there were still 14,000 people without power in Queens. Most of those were in Howard Beach, which was flooded by Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge on Oct. 29.

Con Edison has received caravans of support from across the country in the form of equipment and crew from other utility companies including Detriot Edison from Michigan and Pacific Gas and Electric from Northern California, whose crews were working on power lines on 95th Street on Friday morning. 

Parts of the neighborhood have had their power restored, but the coverage is spotty. On some blocks, one house has it while another does not. Traffic lights remained out on Cross Bay Boulevard on Friday afternoon and crews were digging in the street near New Park Pizzeria. 

On residential streets, homes that still did not have power had generators buzzing on their front lawns. Neighbors tapped into other neighbor’s makeshift power supplies with the help of long extension cords that lay across the streets and sidewalks. 

Confusion reigned among residents in the neighborhood over what needs to be done in order to have the electric put back on. Con Edison removed electric meters on some homes without informing residents as to why. 

At the customer information van on 165th Avenue, a line of residents gathered to ask the utility company questions about restoration. Nearly all had the same question;

“When are the lights coming back on?”

Representatives from Con Edison told people there was no specific time and date for complete restoration of the neighborhood. They also explained the process in which electricity would be restored to houses that suffered damage to equipment. 

“It’s just more money to spend,” said Carol, a resident of Howard Beach whose basement was completely flooded and who has to have an electrician check her equipment. “Is Con Edison going to reimburse me?”

State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) acknowledged Con Edison's "daunting task," but said more communication was needed immediately after the storm.

"We got a lot of information 10 days out," he said. "Information we should have gotten the day after." 

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