A protester at a rally against the Long Island Power Authority Friday. (Credit: Sophia Hall/WCBS 880)

HICKSVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Long Island residents were rallying Saturday for fed up power customers to voice their frustration about still being in the dark.

One Saturday rally began at 10 a.m. outside Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and National Grid headquarters in Hicksville. Another was held at 3 p.m. in Marjorie R. Post Community Park in Massapequa.

1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported over 100 protesters gathered in Hicksville, holding signs expressing their fury, reading “honk for heat” and “change the leadership.”

“I live here in Hicksville. We’re in the middle of the island. We have no tidal surge, obviously, and why am I sitting here with no power?” said another protester, Pete. “That outage map that’s online is terrible. It tells me nothing. There’s no place for me to call to get information.”

Another protester, John Mangan of Levittown, said LIPA should be brought up on criminal charges. He said his neighbor relies on oxygen and a feeding tube to survive, and she had to be hospitalized because the power has been out so long.

A protester at a rally against the Long Island Power Authority Friday. (Credit: Sophia Hall/WCBS 880)

“I have two poles off — 13 days to fix a pole? What, are you kidding me? I’m in the middle of the island,” Mangan said. “Governor Cuomo has to get rid of LIPA. We have to find out if Minnie or Mickey is running that service and have them put the power on for these people. It is a disgrace.”

The drivers listened and honked in droves.

Another man told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall he had been in the dark for nearly 13 days.

“People have to look to move off Long Island,” he said. “You can’t safeguard your family. I mean, we’re sitting in a cold house. Nobody comes by.”

But there was one woman who stood up with a sign saying she was supporting LIPA. In fact, she gave them a grade A.

At a news conference and in a news release Saturday afternoon, LIPA did not address the complaints directly, but did say 99 percent customers will have power back by Tuesday — except for those in areas that sustained too much damage to restore power.

As of Saturday, LIPA had restored 93 percent of power to customers. A total of 38,000 customers remained without power in Nassau County, and 28,000 in Suffolk County, LIPA said.

“Over a million customers have been restored to date, and 130,000 remain,” said John Bruckner, president of National Grid.

A workforce of 15,000 linemen, field and support personnel have brought power back to 84,000 customers in the past 24 hours, LIPA said. But while there is power from some neighborhoods, some homes are so severely damaged that they cannot connect to the electrical grid, LIPA said.

Most of the severely damaged homes are in Island Park, Oceanside, and the East Rockaway area, as well as pockets in some South Shore communities, LIPA said.

In Nassau, 250 surveyors were out in the field with technicians and servicemen following to restore power to homes where it was safe to do so. A total of up to 500 more linemen were set to join the 9,600 already on the ground Saturday, LIPA said.

Still, as CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported Saturday morning, many residents had been in the dark for 13 days as of this weekend, and there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel.

Driving through the dark neighborhoods early Saturday morning, it was inevitable to wonder how long people could take it. The storm hit two weeks ago Monday, and of course, all agree that getting the power back is a monumental task.

But people trying to survive the conditions in Oceanside, Long Island, have begun asking — where is the response? Where is the gasoline? Where is the electricity? And where is the Long Island Power Authority?

A man walking his dog in Oceanside Saturday morning was livid.

“This is the United States of America,” he said. “We should be ashamed.”

Source: CBS 2 NY


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