By Larry Gordon

There was a story somewhere recently about how in order to save money places like the Gaza Strip and other not so hot spots in the world cut their electrical services to whole cities in order to save money and energy which in some places is in scarce supply.  Somehow I don’t picture Gaza as a place where people scrupulously or for that matter unscrupulously are meticulous about paying their energy bills every month like we do here.

Put it this way, for nearly two weeks at the beginning of November, 2012 when Hurricane Sandy had her way with us, large areas of New York including our little sliver of the universe here in the 5 Towns and Far Rockaway was feeling a little—no, make that a lot—like the Gaza Strip.

It was shortly thereafter that I overheard my neighbor Idel Kolodny talking with a friend about how busy he and the company he is associated with—Electric and Beyond—about the great demand for generators.  The Long Island Power Authority and demonstrated itself to be quite powerless in face of nature’s fury and for many of us the time has arrived to declare that we were mad as hell and were not going to take it anymore, or something like that.

I kind of missed the boat with Idel and the experts at E and Beyond because my son-in-law through a desperate national search when everyone was clamoring for generators found one for me at a Home Depot somewhere out in the Midwest.  That machine could not arrive here in New York fast enough and that was after the lights came on after a 12 day outage.  It was an awful way to have lived and then I supposed with a little dab of post-traumatic stress just waiting for those lights to go off again.

Okay so let me disclose it right up front here.  I had my natural gas generator installed by another company and it just never worked properly.  When it was set to switch on for its weekly test it just never started. I really didn’t know what to do for weeks until I finally confessed to Idel one day that I think I needed his help.  Yes, I admitted to him, I should have had him and E and Beyond do the work in the first place.  I think those are the words he wanted to hear before he brought his crew over and with a not so simple adjustment got the thing to work.

Granted a generator is a costly ordeal.  But Idel Kolodny says that the company is busy doing installations just about every day over the last six months matching up generators with homeowners.  No one wants to be caught up in or have to navigate their way through that kind of ordeal—that is living in darkness or by candlelight— if it can be avoided in any possible way.  And this is obviously the way—your own motorized power so that you do not have to live at the mercy of LIPA.

Yes, LIPA was brutalized during Sandy, that is completely unprepared and at a loss as to what to do next.  And that’s why Kolodny believes that it is so important for homeowners to get their generators before the next emergency sets in.

He acknowledges that Hurricane Sandy and its devastating effect came about as a result of an unusual combination of circumstances.  “Four cataclysmic events occurred all together on the same day,” Ideal explains.  “There was a hurricane, a nor easter, high tide and a full moon, all on the same night,” he says.  Many are still recovering from that odd convergence of nature.


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