YORKTOWN, N.Y. – A little more than 60 percent of Yorktown remains without power Wednesday morning after Storm Isaias felled hundreds of trees and power lines a day earlier.
The latest figures provided by the town’s two utility companies, Con Edison and NYSEG, have 9,033 out of 14,981 customers without electricity—restoration time unknown.
Con Edison said Isaias, which knocked out power to about 257,000 of its customers in total, was the second worst outage event in its history, surpassed only by Super Storm Sandy in October 2012 (1.1 million). In Westchester, the utility companies are reporting that 123,625 of their combined customers remain in the dark Wednesday morning.
By 10 a.m. Wednesday, Yorktown’s Highway Department had cleared 52 trees from its roadways. However, the majority of downed trees are entangled with power lines, meaning the town cannot safely clear dozens of roads until Con Ed and NYSEG dispatch “make-safe” crews to ensure the lines are not live.
“Any trees that are in contact with wires, highway is not allowed to touch,” said Dave Paganelli, the town’s highway superintendent.
Paganelli told Yorktown News that 46 trees are entangled in Con Ed’s wires and 28 trees are entangled in NYSEG’s wires.
“We are seeing a lack of commitment on the part of NYSEG and Con Ed in expediating our ability to remove trees that are in contact with wires,” Paganelli said.
Though understanding of the magnitude of the damage, Town Supervisor Matt Slater has been equally disappointed in the utility companies' response times, saying a Yorktown police officer was trapped on Spring Valley Road for 8 hours yesterday while the town waited on Con Edison to respond.
“It’s just purely unacceptable,” Slater said of the incident.
Prior to the storm, Slater said, he and Paganelli requested from Con Edison a dedicated make-safe group for Yorktown. The company, he said, did not live up to its promise despite having a staging area in nearby FDR Park.
“The town was completely ready, but we’re at the mercy of the utility companies,” Slater said.
NYSEG requested and was granted a rate increase last year. But their response to Isaias, the supervisor said, leaves much to be desired.
“What are we paying for?” Slater said, adding he plans on taking both companies to task when this event is over. “There’s a lot of work to be done here, and residents have a right to be frustrated.”
Paganelli said that the storm caused a “tremendous amount of infrastructure damage” in Yorktown, meaning Con Ed and NYSEG customers could be without power for multiple days.
“Everybody’s got to be ready to go for a couple of days here,” Slater said. “It’s frustrating. I know people are frustrated.”