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Frustrated Long Island residents enter day 12 of no power

 

Hundreds of Long Island residents in the town of Oceanside turned out to express their frustrations at what they say is a lack of communication and action by the Long Island Power Authority.

"Enough is enough," Oceanside residents chanted during the protest Friday.

Oceanside is on the south shore of New York's Long Island, where more than 160,000 residents are preparing to enter a second week without power following superstorm Sandy.

Among frustrated residents were Long Island officials who also expressed anger.

Kate Murray, Town of Hempstead Supervisor told the crowds that it was "unacceptable," that the head of LIPA was unsure of the policy regarding electrical inspections for residents. LIPA did not attend the meeting.

LIPA is in the process of sending teams of inspectors to homes and businesses within flooded areas along the south shore to determine whether it is safe to turn power back on to the area.

Unfortunately, residents have had to rely on word of mouth from neighbors as to when the inspections are taking place in their area, because a resident must be home. The inspection cannot take place unless a homeowner is present, and residents are instructed to reschedule their appointment if they are not home.  

Residents displaced by Sandy or returning to work are frustrated with the process because it's not clear when inspectors will be in their area.

"Communications is definitely a problem. It's a big problem that's not acceptable to the board, which is why we've authorized significant improvements to our systems," Howard Steinberg, LIPA chairman told Newsday.

LIPA recently approved plans to invest $150 million into computer systems to handle outages and communications, but the plan was to be implemented beginning 2013, Newsday reports.

"Unfortunately the improvements we've authorized were just not in place in time for Hurricane Sandy," Steinberg told Newsday.

Oceanside plans to reopen its eight schools that have been closed since Sandy on Tuesday, but parents are worried about how they will send their children back to school with their homes still in the dark.

"How will I pack them lunch?" one mom told MyFoxNY.com.

It's also not clear if power will return to the schools in time, so the town has purchased generators for the schools to run on.  National Grid, which manages the power grid owned by LIPA, said 95 percent of residents that live in non-flood zones, should have power restored by Tuesday, but there is no timeline for those in flood zones, MyFoxNY.com reports..

Local and state officials have asked that the federal government step in, and National Grid said they will welcome all of the help they can get.

Some Long Island residents who had power restored following Sandy were left in the dark again following last week's nor'easter.

LIPA has said those without power the longest are of the highest priority.

President Obama will meet with affected families and local officials on Thursday to see recovery efforts in the hardest hit areas of New York.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo estimated damage and economic losses from the storm could total $33 billion in the state.

Cuomo also said 154,000 FEMA requests have been filed, but officials expect that number to go up.

Small improvements have been seen. On Friday, Long Beach deemed water safe to drink, and residents in the hardest hit areas were allowed to return to their homes for the first time to see assess the damage. 

Click for more from MyFoxNY.com.

Click for more from Newsday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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