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The Rockaways are evacuating again today because of the Nor'Easter coming through. The temperature dropped below freezing on Monday night, and LIPA (electric power) is lying about how many customers are without power.

(Please join me below the fold.)

NY1 is NYC’s local public television.

Bob Hardt, Political Blogger at NY1 reported from his home in Rockaway beach before the storm and throughout the week. His blog will give you some sense of how devastated people are.

From his Tuesday 11/6/12, 7 a.m. post:

As good a job as the governor, the city, and the MTA have done in trying to communicate what's going on, I can't say the same for the Long Island Power Authority -- a utility that had the gall or the stupidity to tell our office that just 69 customers were without power yesterday on Rockaway.

LIPA doesn't count people whose homes are damaged and can't receive electricity as somehow being "without power.

While their reasoning might make sense in a boardroom somewhere, it does nothing to explain how much in the dark Rockaway really is. (The answer right now is almost everyone. That's roughly the entire population of Hartford, Connecticut.)

Here's a bureaucratic nugget from LIPA's website: "From the over one million LIPA customers who lost power due to the super storm that affected eight million electric customers along the east coast, 219,000 customers remain without power, excluding those customers in the most severely flooded areas that may currently be unable to receive power."

Electric utilities and water supply are critical needs - an important lesson from sandy is that they are too important for private companies to manage.  Private companies have no incentive to tell the truth here and seem to purposely under-report how many households and businesses are affected.

A single customer can be a whole apartment complex, or commercial building.

There are high-rise buildings, even in Manhattan, the so-called playground of the rich, that still have no heat, or hot water, because those services are powered by steam, which is from Con Edison.  Steam in New York City is a technology that is more than a hundred years old and the need for infrastructure repair is acknowledged, when a steam pipe exploded in the street a few years ago.  Burying the power lines is not simple solution.

DIRECT ACTION is breaking down walls that Republicans have used to divide us. Walls based on race, background, gender, sexual orientation, and economic opportunity.

OccupySandy - direct donations through Amazon registry or St. Jacobi Church (UPDATEDx4)

Occupy Sandy’s main hub in the Rockaways began with a solar powered generator from Greenpeace.  Before long, the National Guard was relying on OccupySandy to distribute food and water. The whole world is watching!
See for yourself - Video, Rockaway Peninsula, Queens, NYC, Nov 3rd

UPS is now acting as a distribution hub for Occupy Sandy! (Nov 7th, from Occupy Sandy's social media feed)

See for yourself - Video, A gap that OccupySandy Relief stepped up to fill, Nov 1st

See for yourself - An interactive map of OccupySandy's efforts

See for yourself - OccupySandy's social media feed at

See for yourself - OccupySandy covered by Democracy Now, Nov 5th

Also see extensive diaries with many links and context:

Urgent Help Needed #OWS, by divineorder

Hurricane Sandy-We Still Need Help by ChazcatFollow

Some Evacuations Ordered: Snow, high winds slam storm-ravaged East Coast by War on Error

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Comment Preferences

  •  This really makes me wonder about how much (4+ / 0-)

    effective planning actually happens.

    So many companies are running with skeleton crews to make more profits for CEOs and Shareholders.  Not saying this one is, but you have to wonder.

    America needs a priority reset.  Hope we have one.

    It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

    by War on Error on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 03:11:53 PM PST

  •  The problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, nchristine

    with governing a big country is putting and keeping the kinds of supplies and goods needed for efforts like these where they would do the most good. There is no preparation for the coming climate changes, and these disasters will go on mounting as the century advances. We have got to start putting plans into place in disaster-prone areas of the country, start machining up manufacturers to make the kinds of goods that will be needed, building stockpiling zones, augmenting the present infrastructures or building better ones and educating the public on what they will need to plan for. Within 20 years there will be no more going to war in other countries--we will be fighting against climate change here. If thefederal government drags its feet, the states should begin the process without them.

  •  Wait, what? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, navajo

    So according to LIPA (I remember them, too, and not fondly), you're only "without power" if it's some malfunction in their own system.  If your entire home is smashed to smithereens, you're not "without power."


    Authentic Native American silverwork, jewelry, photography, and other art here.

    by Aji on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 05:52:27 PM PST

    •  That's exactly right nt (0+ / 0-)

      Con Edison is doing the same math.

      If you have damaged utility equipment inside your home or business, they are not counting you.

      They are counting their successes as their ability to bring power to a property, that currently has functioning equipment to receive power.

      See how that circle of newspeak works? Utility states a number, city or states cite the number reported by the utility company. Two independent sources - that's how a number becomes a fact, press publishes what they think are facts.

      Until someone who knew better, because they live there, knew that the Rockaways have much more than 69 customers without power. That was Bob Hardt, NY1's political director.

      No one is telling the truth about how many households, how many businesses, how many PEOPLE lack the most basic capability to stay warm, bath in hot water, and turn the lights on.

      Currently the fire department probably has the best handle on the real number, or at least they would if they inspected every building.

    •  And I'll bet NJ utility companies are doing (0+ / 0-)

      the same kind of reporting.

      Pulling the wool over the public's eyes and over the governments eyes.  People are still too stunned, just shattered, and many cut off without even telephone or cell phone service.

      But questions are starting, and Cuomo has been talking tough about holding utilities accountable.

  •  what does the utility company GAIN by lying, or (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    mis-defining, how many PEOPLE are still without power, FOR WHATEVER REASON?

    do they think their restoration numbers make them look good, or something? is there money to be gained from the government for restoration work (but then they wouldn't want to underestimate the numbers...)

    WHAT'S THE POINT OF UNDER-COUNTING, from the power company's POV?

    where on earth are the power companies' PR departments who should be coming up with better definitions, like

    "we are now tracking progress at XXXK addresses (of former customers) which are currently NOT capable of having power delivered to them (because of damage)"
    I'm sure the power companies know these numbers of customers-from-before-the-storm, and how many of those customers either have or have not had service restored, eh?

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Wed Nov 07, 2012 at 11:48:50 PM PST

    •  what does the utility company GAIN (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      what does the utility company GAIN by lying, or mis-defining, how many PEOPLE are still without power, FOR WHATEVER REASON?
      I do not know.

      The only incentive I can think of is to limit criticism that they were understaffed.

      Both LIPA and Con Edison state on their websites how they define customer.  I imagine property managers and real estate developers, and so on know whether their properties are counted as a customer.

      But the public hears the word "customer" and thinks it means someone (or a household or business) who gets a monthly bill for utility service.

    •  Example - Stuyvesant Town - Peter Cooper Village (0+ / 0-)

      Is Suyvesant Town - Peter Cooper Village a single customer?
      The complex is a sprawling collection of red brick apartment buildings stretching from First Avenue to Avenue C, between 14th and 23rd Streets. It covers about 80 acres (320,000 m2) of land, a portion of which is utilized for playgrounds and parkland. The development located between 14th and 20th Streets, Stuyvesant Town, has 8,757 apartments in 35 residential buildings and with its sister development, Peter Cooper Village – located between 20th and 23rd Streets – the complex has a combined 56 residential buildings,[2] 11,250 apartments, and over 25,000 residents.
      That is 8757+11250 apartments, over 20,000 households.

      So when the Mayor reports that Con Ed has restored electricity to X customers, Stuy Town - Peter Cooper Village may be counted as a s single customer.

      And restoring electricity is not the same as restoring power, if the building uses steam for heat, hot water, and elevator service.

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