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PSEG says electricity restored to Long Island customers after Sunday's storm

Adam Schepps with his daughter, Emma, 13, on

Adam Schepps with his daughter, Emma, 13, on Tuesday, where trees came crashing through his fence on Janet Lane in Commack during a storm Sunday. Credit: James Carbone

Electricity has been restored to PSEG Long Island customers who lost power during an intense storm that struck Suffolk County on Sunday, the company said.

Just over 96,000 PSEG Long Island customers lost power in the pop-up storm that struck central and western Suffolk, and just under 100 had remained early Wednesday morning. All since have had their power restored, PSEG said.

“The damage was significant,” PSEG Long Island president and chief operating officer Daniel Eichhorn said. “There were major trees down. Every job was time-consuming.”

On Wednesday, Suffolk police identified the woman who drowned while swimming off Fire Island as Barbara Langbecker, 67, of Manhattan.

Three systems that gathered strength around the same time Sunday afternoon quickly turned sunny skies dark in central Suffolk, toppling trees and dropping quarter-size hail in spots.

Most of the outages and damage took place in Bay Shore, Islip, East Northport and Commack, and in each of the 2,293 damage locations, there were often multiple services out, including blown fuses, switches and transformers, or wires that needed replacing. There were just under 1,000 locations where a single customer was without power, but still needed restoration work.

Some 846 downed trees led to most of the damage, and 185 utility poles were replaced. There were 405 blown fuses, and 291 damaged transformers replaced, PSEG said.

“The damage was so concentrated it was very likely that in every area that was out there were one to four to five different services that were out,” Eichhorn said.

One storm hit the Huntington area east into Commack; another sliced through Bay Shore east to Oakdale; and a third barreled through the North and South forks, said Tim Morrin, observation program leader at the National Weather Service in Upton.

Key to the PSEG’s quick response, Eichhorn said, was the decision by the utility to seek help from contractors and other utilities by Sunday evening. Outside crews begin arriving on Long Island by Monday morning. Some 814 outside line workers helped in the restoration, which saw 81 percent of customers restored within 24 hours, PSEG said.

Power was restored first to critical infrastructure, including a transmission line adjacent to a LIRR rail line.

While all outages are restored, the work isn’t over. Eichhorn said the utility expects that some trees and branches weakened by the storm could cause more outages in coming days and weeks. Emergency crews will be on call through the weekend, and a full assortment of crews will be back on the job Friday further securing the grid.

“We expect to see an increase in work over the next week or two because the trees are in a weakened state,” he said.

As the utility company wraps up recovery efforts, temporary outreach centers at PSEG Long Island offices in Brentwood and Greenlawn, and in the Mayfair Shopping Center in Commack, are closed.

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