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Letters: LIPA's storm response is lacking

Several tree-trimming and power line trucks are lined

Several tree-trimming and power line trucks are lined up and ready to be dispatched in a staging area for National Grid in Bethpage State Park. (Oct. 30, 2012) Credit: Daniel Brennan

The Long Island Power Authority isn't the only organization to blame for so many people being without power . Take a drive down any street in your neighborhood and look up at the power lines. Just how many trees do you see growing around them? Just how much of Sandy storm damage was caused by trees taking out these lines?

We are now aware of how much damage and pain are caused simply by trees, and it easily could have been avoided. Remove the trees! Some towns have laws stating you can't remove a tree on your own property without the town's permission, a hearing and then a permit. We certainly need to protect our environment -- but to go to this level to protect one dangerous tree? If it is dangerous to the power utility or the town, let them take care of it on their nickel.

Michael Connor, Centerreach


Superstorm Sandy may have knocked down power lines, but it is LIPA that kept hundreds of thousands of customers in the dark. In the days after the storm, we huddled around the radio to hear updates from Con Edison and other utilities. Where were LIPA's managers? When they did take to the airwaves, it wasn't to give information, but to defend their storm-battered reputation.

Weather forecasters were very accurate in their predictions. In the days leading up to the storm, I bought extra nonperishable foods, gassed up my car, put batteries in flashlights and even caught up on laundry. Why didn't LIPA prepare?

Every company has a crisis plan. Did LIPA not include a catastrophic power outage in its plan? I have the utmost respect for the linesmen who have been working 16-hour days to restore power to our communities. Maybe they wouldn't have to be working so hard -- and we wouldn't be so cold -- if LIPA's management had done its job before the storm.

Linda Eterno, East Meadow


Communication between LIPA and work crews and the agency and politicians isn't the only problem in town. LIPA's text-messaging system for updates on outages is a scam. Saturday night -- after 12 days of no power -- we got a recorded phone message saying that our power was back on. It wasn't. I texted for status and received the same message LIPA's been saying for days: "Crew will be dispatched as soon as possible. Updating estimate."

Apparently the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, and neither of them are in my neighborhood.

Henry Thode, Port Jefferson Station


LIPA's response in the past few weeks notwithstanding, its real failure is in long-term corrective action to prevent a disaster of this magnitude from recurring. Why aren't we putting cables underground? The recovery would be nothing compared with what we have now, as we continue to deliver electricity using wooden poles, like back in the days when we made butter with a stick and a pail.

Doug Otto, Massapequa


It is long past time that we bury our power and phone lines instead of stringing them from vulnerable poles. Visitors from around the world are amazed that America -- a country that leads the world in technology -- still uses this antiquated system. They are aghast that we lose power when a tree falls or a strong wind blows. Their lines were buried long ago and their power systems seldom fail.

The costs of burying lines will certainly be outweighed over time by the vast savings from perennial LIPA tree-trimming, storm repairs, lost utility revenues, and the massive loss of productivity and business that occurs when hundreds of thousands of people are without power for days and weeks. It is a financial and budgetary winner.

As a bonus, we get our neighborhoods clean of old telephone poles and spiderwebs of hanging wires everywhere. Time to enter the 21st century, Long Island.

Scott Salvato, Valley Stream


A day or two after the storm, I was so impressed to see trucks from Texas and North Carolina in my neighborhood in Hampton Bays. These folks left their families and drove many hours to come here to help our LIPA crews. It really restores your faith in humanity. My family and I are profoundly grateful for the compassion of strangers from near and far. In a moment like this, we realize how dependent we are on one another.

Elizabeth P. Balzer, Hampton Bays