As days without power drag on, frustration simmers
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"I was so disgusted the other night,'' said Carrie Baram of Baldwin Harbor, on Long Island, who said she calls the utility three times a day. "I was up till midnight, but nobody bothered to answer the telephone.''
Baram, 56, said she and her husband, Bob, go to the mall to charge their cellphones, and Bob, a sales manager, goes there to work. They trekked to her parents' house to shower. At night, they huddle under a pile of blankets and listen to the sound of fire engines, which Baram assumes are blaring because people have been accidentally setting blazes with their generators.
"It's dark,'' said an exasperated Baram, "it's frightening, and it's freezing.''
LIPA has said it knows that customers aren't getting the information they need, partly because of an outdated information technology system that it is updating. On Sunday, executives said they were working on setting up information centers near the most heavily damaged areas. The company also said it had deployed 6,400 linemen to work on restoring power, compared to 200 on a normal day.
"They're working on it, they're working on it' _ that would be their common response,'' Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said Sunday, describing LIPA's interaction with his office.
Mangano and other lawmakers have called for the federal government to step in and assist with restoring power to Long Island, saying LIPA could not be trusted to get the job done.
On Sunday, LIPA said it had restored power to 95 percent of homes and businesses where it was safe to receive power and that that figure would be 99 percent by the end of Tuesday. It didn't give an estimate for the remaining customers.
In New York City, the mayor's office said about 6,000 residents of low-income housing were still without power in 30 buildings.
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