Power Slowly Turned Back On, “Irate” Man Arrested for LIPA Threats

Utility companies are continuing to chip away at the outages caused by Tropical Storm Irene, but the progress apparently isn't fast enough for at least one Long Island man.

A Hicksville man was arrested Wednesday afternoon after he called the Nassau County Department of Emergency Management and made "numerous" threats against the Long Island Power Authority.

The 46-year-old man was "irate" about having no electricity in his home days after Irene left the area, officials said. He was charged with second-degree aggravated harassment and arraigned Thursday.

The man is one of thousands of New Yorkers still without electricity four days after Irene pounded the state with drenching rains and high winds.      

On Long Island, about 89,000 people are still without power. Nassau County reported numerous downed trees and power lines, creating possible dangerous situations. LIPA said it is dealing with the most power outages since Hurricane Gloria hit in 1985.

LIPA, which had called in 2,000 workers from out of state to help with its outages, said Thursday it is having to move its workers to shelters at the Nassau Coliseum, Bayshore High School and a local community college because hotel rooms are needed for Labor Day bookings.

Crews have been working 16- to 18-hour shifts, and some workers say dealing with frustrated customers is sometimes their biggest challenge.

"I understand why they're upset but we didn't cause the storm and we are just trying to work it," said LIPA worker Steve Thompson.

Workers say downed trees have been a major obstacle. They have to wait for tree crews to cut branches and trunks before they can access the lines.

For those without power in Nassau County, the government is offering free showers.     

County Executive Edward Mangano said Thursday that shower facilities will be available at two county pools and the Mitchel Athletic Complex.

Shower facilities are available at North Woodmere Park, at Cantiague Park in Hicksville and at the Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale.      

Residents are encouraged to bring towels and soap.  

Upstate, another 38,000 customers still don't have power.      

In New Jersey, more than 44,000 homes and businesses remain without service five days after the first bands of the storm hit the Garden State. The storm knocked out service to more than 1.5 million customers.    

Jersey Central Power & Light has 40,000 customers without power. PSE&G has fewer than 4,400. Atlantic City Electric has 29 customers.

And in Connecticut, some 170,000 are still in the dark.    

Restoration estimates range from the weekend to early next week. 

Stay with NBC New York on Twitter @NBCNewYork and Facebook/NBCNewYork.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us