Queens Homeowner Gets Utility Bills for House Destroyed in Sandy

By Gus Rosendale
|  Friday, May 10, 2013  |  Updated 10:31 AM EDT
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A Breezy Point, Queens, man says he's being billed $1,605 by LIPA and National Grid for utilities at a house that doesn't exist anymore.  Gus Rosendale explains.

NBC 4 New York

A Breezy Point, Queens, man says he's being billed $1,605 by LIPA and National Grid for utilities at a house that doesn't exist anymore. Gus Rosendale explains.

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A Queens family whose house was destroyed by fires that raged after Hurricane Sandy has been getting electric and gas bills for the home that doesn't exist.

Kiernan Burke said he received more than $1,600 in bills from Long Island Power Authority and National Grid.

"It is unbelievable," he said.

Burke's family has lived along Irving Walk in Breezy Point for four generations. Their home was destroyed during Sandy when a massive fire swept through the community.

"You can see in the background, it's a great deal of the community that's just gone," he said.

Homeowners sued the power company, saying it was negligent in not cutting off power to the area, which they say sparked the fire. Burke wonders how the company could possibly have billed families after that. 

"How on earth could they, with a straight face, not even have the common courtesy and the dignity to understand that certain addresses were wiped off the map by their negligence?" he said. "It's just the highest level of ineptitude. It's crazy."

Burke said LIPA told him the bills were based on estimated meter readings. But no meter survived the fire at his house or any of the more than 100 homes that once stood in that part of Breezy Point.

Burke worries about his credit as he tries to rebuild his life, even though LIPA now says he won't have to pay those bills.

"You would think there would be a red flag in the system to alert you that you're dealing with a community that's maybe a little uneasy about your customer service," he said.

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