Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a stern warning to public utilities Saturday, saying the state will hold LIPA and others responsible if they were not adequately prepared for Hurricane Sandy.
At a massive food distribution event at Republic Airport in Farmingdale, Cuomo said power has been restored to 60 percent of the New York metropolitan area.
LIPA reported Saturday evening that 460,000 customers remained without power, down from more than 900,000 initially.
"I've warned the utility companies repeatedly they operate under a
state charter, essentially," Cuomo said. "The utility companies are not
happy with my warning and frankly, I don't care.
"The customers are not happy. The bill payers are not happy and the
people without power are not happy," Cuomo said. "People are suffering.
It is an issue of safety and if the utilities were not prepared we will
hold them accountable."
LIPA, with federal and state assistance, is bringing in thousands of additional workers this weekend, LIPA officials said.
Cuomo also announced Saturday the state has received $27,792,296 in
federal disaster funds to be used to hire workers who lost their jobs as
a direct result of Hurricane Sandy. The metropolitan area workers are
to be hired "to help clean up and recover communities impacted by
Hurricane Sandy and put unemployed New Yorkers back to work,” Cuomo
To be eligible, workers must be unemployed as a result of Hurricane
Sandy or unemployed and not receiving unemployment benefits or other
types of income support. Those interested should call 1-888-4-NYSDOL (1-888-469-7365).
Also, Cuomo said all nine counties initially approved for federal
disaster assistance, including Nassau and Suffolk, have been approved
for additional funding under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. The
funds will help pay for emergency measures and debris removal.