Published November 12, 2012
About 120,000 homes and businesses in New York and New Jersey are still waiting for power come back on after superstorm Sandy swept through the area two weeks ago, followed by a nor'easter.
The Long Island Power Authority in New York still has the most customers out at about 100,000 as of Monday morning . Most of the rest are in New Jersey.
The totals don't include the tens of thousands of homes that are too damaged to have electricity turned back on. And Consolidated Edison, which serves New York City, says damaged equipment affected thousands and needs to be inspected and repaired before power comes back.
The prolonged lack of electricity as well as dearth of information about when it will be restored has angered residents and government officials alike.
Hundreds of residents protested Saturday outside LIPA's office, frustrated by its slow response to the outages.
Power restoration has been slower in Long Island than in other areas hit by the storm. Some of the blacked out homes and businesses the utility serves may not have power restored until the end of Tuesday, LIPA said.
"We are sitting in a cold house. No one comes by," said John Mangin of Levittown, N.Y. "There should be criminal charges against the CEO and the executive board of LIPA for failure to do their jobs."
Mangin was among about 300 people who were staging the rally.
LIPA chief operating officer Michael Hervey said they were aware customers haven't gotten the information they've needed from the utility, partly because of an outdated information technology system they're in the process of updating.
"I certainly feel the frustration of customers whose power remains out. Our hearts go out to them," Hervey said.
But he said workers are repairing unprecedented storm damage as fast as they can. About 6,400 linemen and 3,700 tree trimmers are at work, compared with 200 linemen on a normal day.
The power outages have also kept emergency crews have their hands full responding to fires started by generators and stockpiled gasoline.
A home in Hempstead was destroyed early Saturday in a blaze that fire officials suspected was related to a generator that had been placed against the building's rear wall.
On Friday at the Eno restaurant in Manhattan, three workers were burned after one spilled gasoline in the kitchen and it ignited, the New York Daily News reports.
Fire marshals are looking into whether the gasoline was being hoarded by a chef amid a fuel crisis that has brought frustration and long lines at the pump.
In New Orleans, the chaos wrought by Superstorm Sandy delivered a gut-wrenching dose of deja vu for survivors of Hurricane Katrina.
But now those people are reaching into their wallets and cupboards to help victims of Sandy, seven years after Katrina destroyed their own neighborhoods, killed more than 1,800 people and caused some $108 billion in damage.
Church groups, nonprofits, City Hall and individuals in New Orleans and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast have begun sending care packages, donating money and staging volunteers for the cleanup and recovery efforts.
Joe Robert is one of those volunteers driven to help after seeing images of destruction. He knows too well what those people will face. His voice cracking with emotion, Robert says seeing Sandy's aftermath makes him "relive all the memories, all the heartache."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.