Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray has spoken with John Bruckner, President of National Grid Long Island, requesting the utility to mobilize early in anticipation of power outages that result from the first major snowstorm of the year. Murray also emphasized the need for National Grid to communicate consistently and effectively with residents who may be affected by power outages.
The Supervisor indicated that neither she nor fellow town residents would tolerate a repeat of the abysmal response to electrical outages by LIPA in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Murray indicated that the town participated in preparatory conference calls with National Grid officials, LIPA managers and the Nassau County Office of Emergency Management yesterday to game plan for the pending storm, and develop a protocol for local government and utility cooperation.
“National Grid is taking the reins from LIPA, spearheading power restoration and communication efforts related to electrical outages that may occur during this major winter storm,” said Murray. “The response to electrical outages and communication with the public must improve vastly over the inexcusably poor performance by LIPA in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.”
“National Grid has assured me they are prepared to handle the challenges presented by today’s snow storm. But, time will tell, and nerves are already frayed from the memories of the Sandy debacle. I reminded the utility they are out of excuses, and residents will be demanding both a top-notch commitment to power restoration and forthright updates throughout this storm.”
Murray also observed that there is already confusion on the part of the public with regard to the proper channel for residents to report power outages. Specifically, National Grid has been put in charge of coordinating power restoration, replacing LIPA. At the same time, residents are expected to know to call LIPA, not National Grid, to report electrical outages.
“I already have concerns about this storm and effective communications by local utilities,” stated Murray. “It can be confusing to have one company placed in charge of storm response, while expecting customers to know that they should call another entity to report power outages.”
“Having already declared a snow emergency in Hempstead Town, we urge residents to remove cars from town roadways to facilitate plowing operations and utility response. The public is also reminded to refrain from shoveling snow from sidewalks and driveways into the street. Of course, the best advice is to stay home and not challenge the elements,” stated Supervisor Murray.
Residents are reminded to keep the following phone number nearby in the event of power outages. The telephone number to report power outages is (800) 490-0075.
“Public trust is an invaluable asset for governments and utilities alike. Confidence and trust in our utility companies were severely shaken by the post Sandy performance. This is an important if not defining moment for National Grid, and I wish them well. Patience is exhausted and excuses are intolerable, we need the utility to step up in a fashion befitting our residents’ needs,” concluded Supervisor Murray.