LI Leaders Agree: There Is A Failure Of Leadership At LIPA Headquarters
Published on November 12, 2012 · Filed Under Business
(Long island, NY) Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone recently chimed in with countless other Long Island government officials in denouncing the perceived lack of effectiveness of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) in restoring electricity to the nearly one million of its customers who were put in the dark two weeks ago by Hurricane Sandy.
“There is a failure of leadership at LIPA headquarters and we are now communicating directly with substations to restore power to Suffolk County residents,” Bellone said. “We want to make sure that the resources are going to stay here in Suffolk County and be deployed as effectively as possible.”
Rampant complaints of both government officials and local residents tell the tale- that LIPA was ill-prepared for the task they had ample warning to be ready for; that communication between LIPA and its customers and leaders of local municipalities was nearly non-existent; and that, two weeks after Hurricane Sandy touched down upon Long Island, there are still over 100,000 LIPA customers in the dark and cold.
Other issues stemmed from a required inspection process LIPA claimed that they needed to undergo before restoring power to various homes across Long Island; a process they later revealed was not due to ensuring public safety, but instead to satisfy liability concerns, something that Bellone expressed sheer disgust with.
“The failures with the inspection process was key in understand that LIPA is incapable of dealing with this situation,” Bellone said. “But I’m not just going to stand here and throw bricks. There is a failure of leadership and we’re going to provide it.”
Town of Oyster Bay (TOB) Supervisor John Venditto is another local official who offered harsh criticism of LIPA’s restoration efforts.
“LIPA has totally failed us,” he said. “After the storm TOB trucks went out and cut down trees and cleared roadways so that LIPA could do their job, an their response has been vile and it has been vulgar. There’s a lot of suffering going on in this town, and people can not get LIPA on the phone, and they can’t even answer the simplest of questions that I have posed to them. There should be a day or reckoning for the people at LIPA who didn’t do their job.”
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano also agreed that LIPA is clearly not up to their appointed task, and recently called upon the federal government to intervene to help restore power to Long Island.
“Over the last 11 days, I have spent much time with individuals whose voices are not being heard but whose cries for help are defining the extent of our region’s anguish and pain,” he said. “To put it into terms that Washington can readily understand, LIPA’s power is at Defcon Two. The power condition is beyond urgent. The Federal government must shake up and wake up LIPA to get the power turned on.”