St. James, Port Jefferson Outages May Linger

Extensive pole and wire damage will take many crews to fix, LIPA says.

Numbers of power outages continue to decrease across Long Island with LIPA crews working on restoration efforts out day and night, but there are still two towns in Suffolk in the dark that are troubling LIPA – St. James and Port Jefferson.

For Nassau County, Brookville is LIPA’s main area of concern.

According to Mark Gross, spokesperson for LIPA, the intent is to get power back to 90-percent of its customers by Wednesday and then take the all of the work crews over to the areas hit with the most physical damage. 

“There are those areas that have mass devastation, those areas around St. James, those areas around Port Jeff, and those areas around Brookville, that will be longer because there’s so much damage and so many jobs,” Gross said. “What we’ll do is we’ll try to clear the deck on all those other jobs outside of those and then we’re going to take the workforce of 7,000 to 8,000 and be able to just flood those areas.” 

Smithtown’s Superintendent of Highways Glenn Jorgensen told Patch Friday afternoon that LIPA had brought in additional workers from Canada, Ohio, Vermont and other places within the U.S. to help with the restoration process, to work with each town to work on town-specific needs.

“The workforce isn’t slim, it’s a workforce to handle a storm, but when you talk about 1 million customers you’re going to need extra resources,” Gross said. 

To prepare for storms, Gross said LIPA does year-round “storm-hardening,” a process to prepare its substations for strong winds and hectic storm conditions. Patch reported in October that it would upgrade its Stony Brook substation, and focus on replacing conductors with new high-capacity lines from Old Field Road to Mount Grey Road and Blueberry Ridge Road. The substation powers 1,937 customers in Stony Brook and Old Field.

Gross said it’s hard to tell at this point in the restoration process if the substations held up during Sandy. 

“We do storm-hardening all year, we go around and look to make things stronger,” he said. “When you’re looking at wind gusts of 90 miles per hour plus, that’s just an unprecedented storm.”

For those puzzled as to why some towns on LIPA’s outage map have increasing numbers of homes in the dark, seeing the numbers fluctuate is normal.

“Sometimes what they need to do is to work on an outage they need to temporarily sometimes de-energize a larger part so they could work on that outage,” Gross said. “And there’s always new damage, something could happen in the normal course of business – a car could hit a pole or a branch could fall down.”

Gross said there have been very few, minimal injuries to LIPA employees during the restoration process.

Smithtown Mom of 3 November 05, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Please come to Dillmont Drive/Lonni Lane intersection! Your crews were here on Friday and never came back! We were told because we are a "one circuit" issue, we are low priority. The people who live on these blocks should be given the same priority level as everyone else!
Matt wurtzel November 05, 2012 at 06:07 PM
If we're being left for last, then someone needs to make sure that every St. James gas station is full. Second to that, St. James residents should get priority to that fuel. If we're going to intentionally suffer the longest then what's being done to get us through?
John K Massaro November 05, 2012 at 06:24 PM
You're kidding, right Matt? Please tell us you're kidding? Entire neighborhoods wiped clean off the map, 100+ lives lost, tens of thousands homeless & sleeping on the floors of school gymnasiums, but make sure the St James NIMBYS get top priority on any fuel coming in, right? Can't leave those Hummers, Escalades & Navigators sitting in their driveways now, can we? PRIORITIES! You people need to get some...
Dkih November 05, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Well said, John!
Mels Ditties November 05, 2012 at 07:16 PM
The way I see his post is for gas for generators and for vehicles (be they hummers or hondas) so that they can at least drive to friends/family who do have power
knowitall November 05, 2012 at 08:15 PM
There are also pocket outages. Small clusters that will unfortunately be the last to be lit.
leeshirley November 05, 2012 at 09:03 PM
looking for info on Mrs Diane Schwendener - 25 Pinoak Lake Head of Harbour, St James - no phone / cel or internet connections. Thank you.. Lee leeshirley@shaw.ca
bear November 05, 2012 at 09:48 PM
The same story comes from everywhere, that LIPA workers had an actual street fight with volunteer help in the Port Jefferson area, because the volunteers (from out of state) were non-union! So, our helpers have left, and we can forget about power for a very long time. A sick situation. Another absurdity about the Wednesday promise: the Nor'easter hits then. There is no point in "preparing" until the great day when LIPA and the politicians decide that underground power is the only type that makes any sense. Switzerland, with all their woods and alps, has no above ground power lines and no power failures in even the worst of storms. Irritated
localguy November 05, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Matt is on the Patch and he also is on Newsday.com story. Matt is a little angry and I guess that's understandable. However, John below is right. If not having power is Matt's biggest problem then he is one of the lucky ones. Friends lost cars, houses and everything in them. Light another candle Matt and they will get to you soon. And by the way John, I live in St James and I don't have a Hummer or anything else that resembles one.
John K Massaro November 05, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Just a figure of speech, localguy. It's usually the ones with the most money who cry entitlement the loudest. Matt seems like that type of guy...
CMarie November 06, 2012 at 12:54 AM
I have 2 toddlers and am pregnant in St. James and we are still very much in the dark. No generator, no nothing. That being said my family found somewhere warm to sleep during the craziness. That I am so thankful for. I commend LIPA for working around the clock, probably leaving their own families for days at a time. I think in times like this sticking together as a community and trying to look at the big picture is vital. We have our lives and our homes are not underwater. While I agree with your overall sentimate John, Saint James is my home and like Localguy, we certainly aren't driving anything fancy. Pay check to pay check for myself and many neighbors. Be safe everyone and stay warm.
Pjcooper November 06, 2012 at 02:12 AM
They need fuel to run generators. Or just stay warm in their cars. When you say priority he means of others who have power in the area around him I believe.
Pjcooper November 06, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Also don't make assumptions as what type person someone is in an effort to discredit them. You have no idea what that someone's motivation or situation is.
Matthew Wurtzel November 06, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Thanks all, but no one needs to defend Matt. Matt's home has been filled with displaced, frozen, homeless families for the past week whose homes have been damaged and cars have been crushed. Matt has been struggling to find fuel in his used cars for the generator that's keeping a dozen people in heat and hot water for the last week. I guess all of his needless necessities like heat, food, and St. James shelter for his family, friends and neighbors living in his 3 bedroom 1200 sq foot mansion are a luxury that no one deserves. By the way, Matt isn't angry. Matt is appalled. And John doesn't have the slightest idea what he's talking about. By the way, my generator just ran out of gas. True story.
JH November 06, 2012 at 12:30 PM
John sounds like you are the one who is a bitter 'entitled' fool who is resentful of those who may have more materialistic things. Who on earth cares what brand of car someone drives!!!??? We are all in this together and should be helping each other equally! Not asking what brand of car someone drives before we afford them help. Shame on you. People feel pain and suffering equally regardless of what kind of car they drive or type of house they live in. Many folks who may drive a fancier car than you feel the same cold and hunger as you. Perhaps when god reviews who stepped up to the plate to ban together during this crisis he will realize your pettiness and keep you exactly where you are.... Envious of others and not capable of doing any better. A fool is a fool no matter how much or how little he has. This is a test of God
JH November 06, 2012 at 12:33 PM
People should be paying more attention to the terrible greed of those unions who have turned away help to line their own pockets. Shame on all of you!
Marion Knott November 06, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Leeshirley Try calling the Nissequoge Fire Dept. or the St. James Fire Dept. I called about my son in Nissequoge and they relayed the message. We're here in San Francisco and our St. James hasn't any power. If it had we would have sent the three kids and their families,etc. to stay there.
Marion Knott November 06, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Proud of the restraint the Smithtown Patch have been showing. I made the mistake of commenting on the Plainview Patch and the vitriol was stunning. No one likes being without power but LIPA is doing what it can. Those whose homes were destroyed should complain the most but they are too devestated and dislocated to comment.
Brian November 07, 2012 at 11:04 PM
I feel for all in St.James.. I was there desperately waiting for electric with no generator the last hurricane Irene. Would anyone know if 3rd street and Washington area have electric? Concerned about my elderly father..I have had No contact.. I am stuck out of the country... Please let me know..
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