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Con Ed Customers Getting Angry After Two Weeks Without Power

By Joe Parziale | November 12, 2012 7:19am

BRIGHTON BEACH — As 55,000 New York residents continue to struggle from Hurricane Sandy-spurred power losses, perceived lack of activity by providers is sparking anger.

At a Con Ed mobile command center located on Voorhies and Ocean Avenues, in Brooklyn, several customers said Saturday the station is little more than a place to vent.

Lawrence Kimel said that he and seven neighbors on Coleridge Street, in Manhattan Beach, had been trying to contact Con Ed representatives by telephone since the day of the storm — and had been unable to get any answers on restorations.

So when he heard about a mobile command center about a block away from his home on Saturday, he headed there immediately.

Kimel, 33, was then directed to another station because his address fell outside of that center's jurisdiction, he said.

The representatives present were not helpful, he said.

"I've been without power 11 days. They asked me 'am I single,'" he said of a female Con Ed staffer. "They think it's a joke."

Kimel, who owns several cell phone stores, said that his family has been without heat and hot water for far too long. Because they can't stay at home, they are staying with his in-laws on Neptune Avenue and Ocean Parkway — cramming a total of nine people into a one-bedroom apartment.

"They're telling me, 'Sit tight, relax,' '' he said.

On the phone, it's even worse, Kimel said.

"You go nowhere," he said. "Every day I call, and they tell me not to call with individual problems. How is it an individual problem if all of my neighbors are without power?"

A Sheepshead Bay resident, who declined to be named, said that Con Ed crews have been unresponsive.

He said he has constantly called the utility for help. The father of two small children said that he needs new meters because the devices in his home were flooded.

He claimed that he was told that crews were driving around the area to re-install meters.

But every operator he speaks to tells him something different, he said. 

"They have no idea what they're doing," he said.

"You talk to these people and you get absolutely nothing from them. It's total chaos. It's impossible to deal with."

"We understand their frustration and are trying very hard to get everyone back up as quickly as possible," a Con Ed spokesman told DNAinfo.com New York in response to questions about these complaints.

But Jaine Gitelman, who owns Hot Spot Yoga at Ocean Parkway, said that she's lost most of her 200 customers after losing power.

They're canceling memberships because her powerless studio isn't open.

"They're giving me the runaround," she said. "I'm losing more and more business every day."

The last communication she received from ConEd was an automated text message that told her her bill for the month came to $278.42.