In a statement released Monday night, NYSEG stated that “while some customers will have power restored in the next few days…it is likely that many customers will be without power at least into next week.”
As of 6 a.m. Tuesday, NYSEG reported that out of its 6,629 customers in Bedford, 2,632 were without power, down from a peak of 4,865 customers without power at 6 a.m. Monday. There is no restoration estimate at this time.
In nearby Lewisboro, almost the entire town was without power on Monday; as of Tuesday morning, 4,189 customers out of 5,454 were down.
Con Edison serves 1,018 customers in Bedford; as of 6 a.m. Tuesday, 575 were still without power. Restorations are estimated for Sept. 1 by noon.
Local fire departments, the police department and town hall have all been bombarded with questions about when power will be restored.
People want to know why it’s taking so long.
So I called and spoke to NYSEG spokesperson Clay Ellis.
There was no short answer to when it would be restored—he couldn’t say for sure—but I did get a long answer.
“We have two major priorities: the first is to respond to downed wires—and we had about 2,500 of those south of Binghamton,” he said. “The second is to do damage assessment; unless you get a big picture of what has happened, you won’t know what has to be done.”
Ellis also pointed out that the assessment phase helps them plan on how to best use crews to take care of problems.
After the assessment phase, which will be fully finished by Tuesday night, Bedford Supervisor Lee Roberts told Patch, NYSEG determines what needs to be repaired centrally.
“We have to repair transition lines—they are the backbone of our system. Those go into substations, which we have to repair next, and lastly, we get to the distribution lines which bring power to individual customers,” Ellis said.
Nearly 200 broken transmission and distribution poles need to repaired as well.
In that last phase, emergency centers and life support customers like hospitals and nursing homes receive priority, he added. Then they look to repair lines that will service the largest block of customers.
“So if you are at the end of the line on a dirt road out in the country, you’re probably going to be last,” said Ellis.
Hmm. That describes a lot of Bedford.
Do they accept bribes?
“No, we do not,” Ellis said. “We are just as eager as everyone else to restore power and our working hard to do so.”
As for the dry ice question—it’s hard to come by, Ellis said. They’ll be distributing more as supplies become available.
They are getting criticism for not having enough dry ice or enough distribution centers but they are having supply difficulties.
Bedford Supervisor Lee Roberts, who has also been without power at home, emphathized with the plight of residents.
“It is hard to be without lights and water and I know people with young children have a particular challenging time,” she said. “We are unable to open our pool facilities because we do not have power at any of our parks.”
She added her hopes for neighbors to be patient and share resources.