(Brentwood, New York Nov. 10, 2012) Today, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone denounced the failed leadership of LIPA and outlined efforts he has undertaken to restore power to Suffolk County residents. Bellone was joined by Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer to discuss their successful efforts to restore power to impacted homes south of Montauk Highway along with Legislator Steve Stern whose Dix Hills home is still without power.
The event was at the Brentwood LIPA substation, which Bellone was working out of today.
Bellone noted that he has ceased all communication with the leadership at LIPA and has established direct communication with frontline workers at every substation in Suffolk County.
“There is a failure of leadership at LIPA headquarters and we are now communicating directly with substations to restore power to Suffolk County residents,” Bellone said. “We want to make sure that the resources are going to stay here in Suffolk County and be deployed as effectively as possible.”\ “This is bold leadership precisely at the time it is needed,”
Legislator Stern said. “While there are failures at the leadership level at LIPA, local leadership is resolute.”
Bellone and Schaffer discussed their efforts to restore power for thousands of South Shore homes after LIPA held up restoring power to those homes citing an inspection process. After several versions of plans to inspect the homes, which began five days after the storm, LIPA revealed that the concerns were based on liability, not public safety.
“Thousands of homes could have been restored days earlier and that is a disgrace,” Schaffer said. “There will come a day to investigate why that happened, but today, we are doing what is necessary to turn on the lights.”
“The failures with the inspection process was key in understand that LIPA is incapable of dealing with this situation,” Bellone said. “But I’m not just going to stand here and throw bricks. There is a failure of leadership and we’re going to provide it.”
Over the past 24 hours, Bellone sent Suffolk County workers directly to every LIPA substation in the county to communicate directly with personnel and determine the assets available. In two cases when substations did not provide the information, Bellone sent Suffolk County Police to get the information.
“With the resources we have in place, if we continue to do the work we’re doing, we can get most people restored by Sunday night, that’s the goal,” Bellone said.
Bellone also urged Suffolk County residents to not take out their anger at the men and women who are out on the frontlines doing the vital work to restore their power.
“The men and women who are working 17, 18 hour days are not to blame, in fact, when you see them, say ‘thank you,’” Bellone said. “I am so grateful to the frontline workers and I am only sorry that they have not been led more effectively to this point.”