Tuesday, Jun 25th

After the Storm in Edgemont

treecranepondThe unexpected snowstorm on October 29th caused widespread problems throughout the tri-state area and Edgemont was not spared. Sandra Miller of Con Edison reports that 100,000 customers in Westchester were affected, 3,000 of those in Scarsdale. Connecticut fared even worse. As of November 8th, a full 10 days after the storm, 23,000 customers there remain without power. Fortunately I did not lose power and was able to open up my home to Edgemont neighbors who needed a warm place to spend the night or a freezer to store their frozen goods. Thankfully, most residents in Edgemont did get their power back by Tuesday morning, well ahead of the initial Wednesday night estimate from Con Edison. All Edgemont schools re-opened on time on Tuesday morning and life got back to normal. Unfortunately even neighbors in Scarsdale, had to wait another day to have their power restored.

I contacted Paul Feiner, Town of Greenburgh Supervisor, to get his thoughts on the widespread power outages that occurred in Edgemont. Supervisor Feiner told me he was in constant contact with Con Edison officials from Westchester. He explained that Con Ed assigns government liaisons to all local governments and he sent all the complaints he received from residents to these liaisons. Feiner says that during this past storm, "They were not very happy with me---in fact they told me I was sending them too many e mails. I’m not sure if my constant communications helped a lot but I was not very happy with the time it took for the outages to be responded to." Perhaps it was all his emails and complaints that helped restore Edgemont's power well before the expected deadline?

Cablevision and Verizon also assign liaisons to government officials and Feiner sent them many emails as well. Feiner also has good relations with those liaisons but this was not always the case. Feiner recalls that: "Over a decade ago I was not very pleased with the response I received from Verizon. I wrote to Ivan Seidenberg, head of the company. He responded immediately. And—after that I started getting almost instant responses from Verizon every time I have a complaint."

Feiner believes in the importance of constant communication and keeping everyone informed with the most up-to date information during critical situations. He sends emails to people who subscribe to the town’s "e list" (approximately 1,500 people). He also uses social media, sending email alerts to his facebook friends (almost 4,000), linked-in contacts (about 1,000) and posting tweets on twitter. The town website also posts all his email reports. Additionally Feiner has his own blog www.paulfeinerblogspot.com.

Some local residents question why the power lines are not moved underground to avoid repeated power outages. Feiner agrees. "Con Ed says it’s too expensive to put wires underground. But I think it would be affordable if the wires were gradually placed underground. It would make sense to do this when roadwork is being done (for example: on Dobbs Ferry Road there was a major sidewalk, drainage, and traffic safety improvement project on the road. A left turn lane was created on Jackson Ave)... I feel that we're living in a third world country. Many of the Edgemont residents have experienced outages every few months. Con Ed should do a better job and be proactive---so the same people don't have repeat power outages every few months."

The October nor'easter will not be soon forgotten, but at least Edgemont was out of the dark quickly!



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