U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand today announced $141,647,444.80 in federal funds for Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) to be put towards reimbursement of additional line- and tree-removal crews who aided in post-Sandy cleanup and expenses associated with the effort. These crews were hired in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy to assist LIPA in the massive, Island-wide cleanup and power-restoration operation.
“Long Islanders already went through enough during Hurricane Sandy, and forcing them to pay expensive cleanup costs would be adding insult to injury,” said Schumer. “These federal funds will go a long way towards ensuring that Long Island ratepayers do not find themselves footing the bill for storm damage and cleanup.”
“Long Island took some of the very worst of Superstorm Sandy, leaving families and businesses in the dark without power and damaged roads and streets,” said Gillibrand. “It is critical that Long Island has the necessary resources on the ground to recover and rebuild.”
According to the grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which provides the funds to New York State for it to distribute, LIPA’s four divisions sustained damages to 877 overhead circuits and 149 substations during Hurricane Sandy. The extent of these damages required LIPA to bring in off-island line- and tree-removal crews to help with the repair of the damaged utility lines and substations. These crews were contracted through in-place mutual-aid agreements, municipality mutual agreements, contracts with regional power providers, and contracts with vendors associated with line repair.
Roughly half of the federal funds will go towards covering the costs of the additional workers, and the other half will go towards covering expenses associated with the increased manpower such as the construction of staging areas, securing of parking lots, development of temporary housing, as well as hotel and travel costs. For example, LIPA utilized outside contractors to assemble, run, and disassemble 14 self-contained sleep base camps across Long Island, which housed a large percentage of the 10,000 linemen and tree-removal crews that were brought in to assist with cleanup.
The strong winds and heavy rain of Superstorm Sandy resulted in close to one million Long Islanders being without power, and these federal funds will help reimburse costs associated with restoring power across Nassau and Suffolk Counties.