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Friday, August 29, 2014

South Bellmore, south Merrick still in the dark
(Page 2 of 3)
Scott Brinton/Herald
The Long Island Power Authority was requiring homes in flood zones to be certified safe before power could be turned on in those neighborhoods. Charlie Tilley, right, was among the many electrical inspectors working in south Merrick on Tuesday. He certified Mark Moskal’s home as safe.

“When it first started raining,” she said, “the roots of the tree started moving, uplifting. At 8 p.m., I heard a thud and the tree fell on the house.”

The tree, Arcos said, took down electrical lines that were strung through its branches. At press time, the tree was pulling on the poles surrounding it, and one of the poles was leaning, threatening Arcos’s home.

“I would love for someone to get over here and get the tree off the wires because I’m afraid the pole will come down in the next storm and come into the house,” she said.

At press time, tree removal crews had moved into areas south of Merrick Road, clearing a series of downed trees on George Court in south Merrick. LIPA officials said that trees must be cleared before lines crews can repair damaged wires to ensure the safety of workers.

The power authority insisted that power would return soon. “LIPA is on track to have 90 percent of all customers back online by Wednesday, Nov. 7, with tens of thousands of customers being restored daily,” the utility said in a written release.

Re-energizing south of Merrick Road

At press time, however, it was not clear when Bellmore-Merrick residents south of Merrick Road would have power restored.

According to LIPA spokesman Mark Gross, any home that was flooded during Sandy must have an electrical inspector examine it to ensure that it is safe to be re-energized. Much of south Bellmore and south Merrick was underwater in the storm, with dozens, if not hundreds, of homes flooding. So the areas south of Merrick Road could not immediately have their power restored, even if all of the lines were repaired, Gross said.

“If we energize” in south Bellmore and south Merrick, “that could be a huge public safety issue,” he said.

By Wednesday, Gross added, “Power will be there, if not already,” in areas south of Merrick Road. “It’s just a matter of making sure those homes are able to receive power safely. Those customers will be in a special class.”

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