Long Island Power Outages Could Last Until Next Week

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Greg Cergol
    Shed blown into Massapequa canal by Irene

    One day after Irene's visit, Long Islanders without electricity are frustrated.

    "We just want answers on what's happening," said Levittown homeowner Patti Stillwaggon.

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    Stillwaggon's home has been without power since early Sunday morning.  Food is rotting in her refrigerator and freezer.

    Stillwaggon and husband Steve have called the Long Island Power Authority and visited the utility's Hicksville office, but walked away with unanswered questions.

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    "You want to find out what time or day they will be in your area," said Steve Stillwaggon.  "It would be nice to talk to a real person."

    LIPA's chief operating officer told reporters Monday he feels homeowners' pain.

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    "I think we understand it," said Michael Hervey.  "Many of our employees are working under the same conditions.  We're going to work as fast as we can."

    But "fast" may not be fast enough for many.

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    Most won't see power restored until Friday, LIPA said, and some homeowners may have to wait until next week.

    "That's a long time," said David Crovets, who visited LIPA seeking help for his elderly in-laws who are without power in Bellmore.

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    LIPA itself is seeking help.  The electric company is asking for "reinforcements" from neighboring utilities.

    The problem, said LIPA's Hervey, is that there is a large number of downed trees and utility poles and not enough workers to remove or replace them.

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    Help, however, may not be quick in coming because so many surrounding communities were also caught in Irene's path.

    For now, more than 2,000 utility employees are working 16-hour shifts to restore power.

    Thirty hospitals and nursing homes are among the structures without power.  Those facilities top LIPA's priority list for power restoration, according to COO Hervey.

    LIPA has decided not to offer dry ice to customers and Hervey said it is too early to consider rebates for those without power.

    At least one Levittown homeowner has decided not to wait for LIPA.

    After failing to find a generator on LI, Robert Berrios' father located one in NYC and purchased it for his son.  They installed it Monday afternoon.

    "This is relief," said the father of three.  "Now, I don't have to deal with screaming seven and nine year olds who don't know how to deal without electricity."

    For others without power, some simple advice: keep generators and propane barbeques OUT of your home.  Fumes from those could be deadly.

    Stay away from downed power lines and never leave candles unattended in your home.