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Merrick family without power almost brought newborn home in the dark

Power outages persist one week post-Isaias

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The pandemic was the last of Gabrielle Fox's worries as she checked in to North Shore University Hospital early Monday morning. The expecting mother from Merrick was prepped for a cesarean, and at 6:03 a.m., her daughter, Jordyn, was born.

But while Fox's mind should have been focused on bonding with her newborn, all she could think about was if she'd have power by the time they were due home. Last Thursday morning, Fox's house on Joyce Lane, as well as eight others on the block, lost power due to a "transformer issue" following Tropical Storm Isaias, she said.

"The hospital has restrictions for how long you can stay because of Covid, so there's a pressure to leave, but we don’t have power," said Fox, who is set to be discharged from the hospital on Wednesday.  "It's scary to not know if you can bring your newborn home. I'm supposed to be enjoying this time, but I'm sitting here crying. It's a lot of uneasiness and fear."

Fox contacted customer service representatives from PSEG Long Island numerous times to explain her situation, but never got a clear answer as to when the power would be restored.

"PSEG told me to expect to not have power at all tomorrow," she said. "There's no mechanisms in place . . . to speak to somebody who makes the decisions on triaging work orders, and the customer service people don't even have information. [They're] elusive."

When Fox posted her story on Facebook, a commenter recommended she ask Town Councilman Christopher Carini to reach out to the utility on her behalf. He reached out twice.

"I got an update that crews were en route and that the power would be restored by 10 p.m. tonight," Carini told the Herald Tuesday afternoon. "Then again, they told me it would be done by 9 p.m. last night."

The situation has exacerbated Fox's stress levels. On Tuesday morning, her heart rate was 108 bpm, she said.

"One representative even said [our block is] not a priority because there are so few people impacted, which completely overlooks individual circumstances," she added. "We would be completely relaxed if we didn’t have this issue hanging over our heads. I should be bonding with Jordyn, and that’s creating all this guilt. It just makes me feel completely devastated."

Fox's power was restored by Tuesday afternoon.