Power struggle

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

November 8, 2012 1:46:14 PM PST
I know a lot of you still don't have power - and there are all sorts of calls for investigations and for the public utilities to be accountable and blah blah blah blah. It's a horrible situation, and for those who haven't had electricity for 10 days, well... you have our sympathies and, hopefully, the rest of us have been generous and sharing and have taken you and your family in or at least given you the use of our electricity.

But there's quite another kind of brouhaha brewing on Long Island, where the battle is between officials in Suffolk County and LIPA, the power company out there. Suffolk County officials want very badly and very quickly for LIPA to turn on the juice to homes in once flooded areas that have lost power. They worry about folks - especially older folks - in the cold and possibly getting sick without heat.

Power company officials, on the other hand, worry that just flipping on the power to homes where wiring has been damaged by salt water could create all sorts of potential problems, including fire. They want to first inspect the homes - a process that would optimize safety, but that would also take time, weeks of time.

So what to do? And who makes the call? Suffolk County? LIPA? Gov. Cuomo? By the way, Mr. Cuomo today said that LIPA has "failed the consumers" by its response to Hurricane Sandy.

We're told other power companies in the area want to do the same kind of inspections, but no word on whether local officials are taking the same let's-inspect-first position.

What a complicated situation. Jeff Pegues is on the story for us, tonight at 11.

And in the aftermath of Sandy and the Nor'easter, we're covering another complicated issue - the gas shortage, and the long lines at the pump. Starting tomorrow, in New York City and Nassau and Suffolk Counties, gas will be rationed - for the first time since 1978. The odd-even license plate plan - the same as New Jersey instituted, smartly, over the weekend. Why did it take New York so long? I'm just sayin'. Jim Dolan has the latest for us.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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