Boro lawmakers call on Con Ed to restore power faster

City Councilman Mark Weprin (c.) joins elected officials and community members in slamming Con Edison for what they called a slow response to power outages. Photo by Rich Bockmann
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With Con Edison projecting it could take up to another week to restore power to all of Queens, several of the borough’s elected officials Friday said the time line was unacceptable and called on the public utility to do everything and anything it could to expedite the process.

“People can’t wait another week with temperatures dropping down into the 40s,” Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) said on a street in South Ozone Park where a tree had knocked down a utility pole, leaving residents in the dark.

The councilman said poor coordination between Con Edison and the city Parks Department had been stymieing progress across the entire borough. “We know it is extensive. We want the relief to be extensive. too,” he said.

As of Friday, Con Edison said 85,000 Queens customers were without electricity and estimated power would not be restored to all of the outer boroughs until Nov. 11. In Manhattan, where some 226,000 customers were in the dark, the utility expected power would be restored by Friday.

During a morning news conference, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said restoration efforts would take longer in areas where utility wires are hung overhead and more vulnerable to damage from wind and falling trees. He had said earlier about half the trees downed throughout the city were in Queens.

“Trees coming down, there’s nothing you can do about it,” he said. “That’s always going to be the case when you have overhead lines.”

Comrie was joined by Council members Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) and Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) as well as state Assembly members William Scarborough (D-St. Albans) and Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village), who were outraged at the mayor’s decision to go ahead with the New York City Marathon.

“They should be more concerned about the people in this community than the marathon,” Comrie said.

Shortly afterward, Bloomberg announced that the Sunday marathon would be canceled.

“The Marathon has been an integral part of New York City’s life for 40 years and is an event tens of thousands of New Yorkers participate in and millions more watch. While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division,” Bloomberg said. The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination. We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it.”

He added, “We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event — even one as meaningful as this — to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track,” the mayor added. “The New York Road Runners will have additional information in the days ahead for participan­ts.”

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

Updated 12:30 pm, November 3, 2012
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Reader feedback

Norma Jean from East Elmhurst says:
Con Edison has done a terrible job restoring power back to some areas in East Elmhurst, Queens. In my area there are about 20 homes without power, that's it. I havent seen a con Edison anything in my area. And I've been out of work the whole week. This is the worse response I've seen so far. I lived in this neighborhood all my life. I am really disgusted and disappointed.
Nov. 6, 2012, 6:34 am

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