Surge disturbs homeowners

A sign posted by the Douglas Manor Association calls for those who were affected by a pre-Thanksgiving power surge to contact its office. Photo by Rich Bockmann
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More than two weeks after a pre-Thanksgiving power surge toasted household electrical appliances and computer systems, many Douglaston-area residents still have a bad taste in their mouths.

“Were you affected by the November 23 electricity surge?” reads a sign posted by the Douglas Manor Association at the corner of Douglaston Parkway and West Drive, complete with illustrations and instructions to contact the DMA office.

Jamie Sutherland, the association’s secretary, said the association posted the sign after receiving numerous calls from residents asking what exactly had happened to cause appliances ranging from computers to refrigerators to burn out, and what to do about it.

“The manor is a small town. Once something happens here, everybody knows. Once we started getting calls, we put things together and figured out there was a problem that’s bigger than just everybody’s individual homes,” she said.

What started out as just a few calls from Shore Road expanded to include most of the neighborhood, Sutherland said, from the Manor Apartments and Doug Bay, all the way up to the point and back down to Hillside Avenue.

“The damage ran the whole gamut. Some businesses lost computer systems,” she said. “There was one senior man who lives alone who went three days without electricity and his heating system was knocked out and he had to go stay with his daughter.”

A spokesman for Con Edison told TimesLedger Newspapers the power surge was caused by a problem with an electrical cable, and all claims submitted to the legal department would be reviewed. Residential and commercial claim forms can be downloaded at and mailed to Thomas Kojes, Room 1820, 4 Irving Place, New York, NY, 10003.

Sutherland said some residents called Con Ed and had received an explanation and instructions on submitting claims, but the agency had issued no formal response to the community about what happened.

“Some members of the community think it’s irresponsible. Some kind of explanation should be given,” she said.

The association was sending out an e-mail blast to residents urging them to contact Con Ed on their own, and Sutherland said the civic group would send a certified letter asking for an official explanation that could be circulated to the community.

Community Board 11 District Manager Susan Seinfeld said she planned to discuss the issue with Con Ed at a regular agency meeting scheduled for this week.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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