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As New York City tries to rebuild and move forward in the aftermath of the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, one northeast Queens lawmaker said the borough deserves better.
In a statement issued Thursday, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) said he has asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo for help in addressing what he called a lack of resources being provided to Queens.
“It is absolutely disgraceful that there are still trees blocking city streets,” Avella said, referring to the more than 5,000 downed, split or uprooted trees Mayor Michael Bloomberg reported in the borough. “There are many trees on people’s homes who have not been contacted by the city and there are thousands upon thousands of people in Queens without power.”
Avella said he planned on asking the state Public Service Commission to investigate Consolidated Edison’s response after the effects of Hurricane Sandy are addressed.
As of Thursday afternoon, Queens posted the second-highest number of customers without power in New York City with 103,000, according to Con Ed’s latest news update. Manhattan had the most customers without power at 227,000.
“You have not been forgotten,” Con Ed said Thursday to one of its Queens customers via Twitter. “Over 100,000 Con Ed customers in Queens and Brooklyn have been restored.”
The utility said Thursday that crews have restored electricity to more than 225,000 customers since the storm’s departure.
“The outage numbers that Con Ed is reporting are completely understated,” Avella said. “The actual numbers are probably three to four times as many customers without power. Con Ed is clearly ignoring the dire situation that exists for many residents without power, including seniors who have health care needs and equipment that depends upon electrical power.”
Con Ed announced that crews restored two underground electrical networks overcome by the storm servicing 2,000 customers in Manhattan and about 28,200 in Brooklyn.
According to Avella, the utility has been telling its customers that priority was being given to Manhattan and Brooklyn. The senator sent a letter to Bloomberg Tuesday, one day after Hurricane Sandy battered the Northeast, saying Con Ed had failed to adequately respond in Queens.
Cuomo announced the National Guard would join with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to deliver 1 million meals and bottled water to parts of Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, including the battered Rockaways region. The governor said he would visit one distribution site in Manhattan Thursday afternoon.
“The first plane into [John F. Kennedy International Airport] this morning was from FEMA, carrying supplies and personnel we requested,” Cuomo said. “New York state will continue to deploy all our resources in response to Hurricane Sandy and adjust to the needs and concerns of New Yorkers so that we can ensure a safe and speedy recovery.”
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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