FARMINGVILLE, NY (OnSachem.com / OnTownMedia.com) — Just hours after Town of Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro told OnSachem he needs double the number of PSEG Long Island crews to work beside town crews during the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias, he joined Town Supervisor Ed Romaine in harshly criticizing the utility's storm response.
Romaine and Losquadro issued the following joint statement this afternoon.
Statement by Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine and Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro Regarding PSEG Storm Response
Like many of our residents, we are disappointed and frustrated with the response by PSEG to Tropical Storm Isaias and the systemic failure of the utility’s communications system.
While the quantity of outages is lower than those experienced during Superstorm Sandy, the communication problem has been far worse. Their outage map is not reflecting actual outages, leading residents to wonder if PSEG is even aware of their outage. Further, the new municipal portal which was set up to report critical outages and blocked roads in need of PSEG support failed less than two hours after the start of the storm. The collapse of PSEG’s telephone and text systems have led to a near information blackout. In short, the entire communications system put in place by PSEG was a monumental failure.
Brookhaven Town, which has more than 3,700 miles of roads and is physically larger than Nassau County, has been working around the clock to clear our roads of fallen trees and branches. The survey and overhead line crews provided to us by PSEG are there to support that function by de-energizing lines, not to rebuild electrical infrastructure and restore power. We have had over 1,600 trees come down across the town with more than 400 of those involving power lines. With no crews assigned to this task on the day of the storm, seven yesterday and ten today, it will take many more days to clear those roads that require PSEG assistance. This has resulted in street closures, residents unable to leave their homes and a dangerous obstacle for emergency responders.
For years we have all seen advertisements from PSEG about the millions of dollars they have spent on tree trimming, communications systems, municipal portals and other preparations in the event of a major hurricane. Isaias, which was only a Tropical Storm, shows that this investment of our money did not bear results.
More than 30 years ago Brookhaven instituted a policy requiring new subdivisions to have all utility lines buried to better prepare these homes to weather significant storms. It is well past time for our electric utility to abandon the 19th century technology of power lines on wooden poles and make annual investments in beginning the process of moving all lines underground.