Today, Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano applauded the Administration for heeding their call to establish a coordinated power restoration working command to focus on power restoration throughout Long Island and New York. This will ensure that all hands are on deck from the federal, state and local levels, but also the private sector and utilities to get power back for New Yorkers.
Currently, nearly 700,000 Long Island Power Authority customers are still without power days after Hurricane Sandy hit the region and Con Edison reported that about 676,000 customers are without service. Not only does the lack of power remain an issue, but as temperatures begin to drop across Long Island, the lack of heat is troubling and of great concern. Rep. Israel and County Executive Mangano sent a letter to President Obama yesterday stressing the need for all levels of government to cut through the red tape and focus aggressively on working together and with LIPA and Con Edison to get power restored.
Rep. Israel said, "This is a power and heat emergency. I applaud the Administration for heeding the call County Executive Mangano and I made to create a Coordinated Power Restoration Command. All levels of government, the private sector and utilities need to mobilize personnel and equipment to get the power back. We have the tools, but need to make sure we are not only using them to the fullest extent but also all of the resources at our disposable for this emergency . I will not allow bureaucracy to get in the way of the health and safety of Long Islanders."
Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano stated, "The restoration of power for residents is a top priority and that is why I met with FEMA this morning to express this necessity."
Today, President Obama established a power restoration working group to increase federal, state, local and private sector coordination with the goal of restoring power to Long Islanders as quickly as possible. It will be led by FEMA Administrator Fugate, and will involve representatives from utilities and government representatives from the Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local law enforcement, among others.
Below is a copy of the letter:
October 31, 2012
The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
The fury of Hurricane Sandy tore down power lines, decimated substations and left the Long Island and New York energy grid severely damaged. Today, roughly 90% of customers served by the Long Island Power Authority and nearly 700,000 served by Con Edison are left without power.
The work by FEMA and first responders locally to address life saving and critical needs has been tremendous. However, we are now experiencing a power emergency. Temperatures are dropping, gas stations are without power, and cell phone service is weakened. That means we must have a coordinated power restoration effort that includes not only the federal, state and local resources, but also the private sector and utilities.
We realize that different communities that were in the path of Hurricane Sandy are in different stages of recovery and restoration. They all share one common thread - limited access to power. In emergencies like this in the past where there has been widespread devastation, all levels of government and industry must come together for the common good. By putting a Coordinated Power Restoration Command in place, you will ensure that all resources are activated and focused on power restoration. Not only that, but this Command will make certain that we use the most efficient and effective means for getting power to residents as safely and quickly as possible.
Our energy supply is of the utmost importance and we appreciate your efforts to deploy every available federal resource to get New Yorkers power. In the federal response to the Deepwater Horizon BP Spill, a unified command was put in place to maximize coordination and fast track recovery between all levels of government and the private sector. We believe that type of coordinated effort spearheaded by the federal government will expedite energy restoration and that remains our top priority.