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Utility Crews Stream Into Westchester To Help Restore Power

Downed overhead wires -- more than 100,000 of them -- are hampering the effort to restore power in Westchester County.
Downed overhead wires -- more than 100,000 of them -- are hampering the effort to restore power in Westchester County. Photo Credit: Flickr Con Ed feed

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – In addition to destruction and mayhem, super-storm Sandy has also caused a massive restoration and cleanup effort throughout Westchester County.

But that effort is not proceeding as quickly as some customers think it should.

"We drove around the past couple of days, and have yet to spot a single Con Ed truck, crew or anything resembling a utility worker,” said Hawthorne resident Eli j. Fleischer. "[Workers] are not on poles or repairing downed wires… Not even driving by on the roads”

But Consolidated Edison said external contractors, some 1,600 of them, are now deployed in or on their way to the five boroughs of New York City and Westchester County, where Con Ed’s coverage extends.

Calls and inquiries to NYSEG, which covers sections of Northern Westchester County, were not returned.

Allan Drury, a spokesperson from Con Ed, made no specific prediction as to when full service would be restored in the region.

“External contractors and mutual aid workers from as far away as California are working to get customers’ power back on," he said.

Drury said the more than 100,000 overhead electrical wires that came down during the storm, which contributed to the loss of power for more than 900,000 customers throughout the region, are obstacles in the restoration. The power losses from last year’s Hurricane Irene, he said, were small in comparison, at 203,821 customers without power.

Workers are facing challenges throughout the region, said Drury, who said he understands residents’ frustration with extended power outages.

“There are still areas customers whose residence are blocked by downed trees and flooded streets,” he added. "If you don’t see a truck on your street, it doesn’t mean that crews are not working to restore your service.”

But Fleischer said he would feel better seeing crews at work.

“If there are Con Ed crews out in the area, I haven’t seen them anywhere near here in the last four days," he said. "Maybe they are literally ghost crews.”

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