12 Days Later, LIPA Finally Has A Plan
LIPA and New York City have agreed to make restoring power to Rockaway residents a little easier and faster by allowing homeowners to self certify their properties with private qualified electricians, Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder announced on Saturday night.
Local politicians demanded a faster recovery time for electricity on Friday during a press conference outside St. Francis de Sales Church in Belle Harbor. Going on nearly two weeks without power, LIPA insisted that they were ready to restore power, but could not do so until each and every home in Rockaway was inspected for safety. Turning on the power in uninspected homes could lead to explosions and fires, LIPA said.
The city however, refused to allow inspectors into homes other than New York City licensed electricians or LIPA inspectors which made restoration a grinding and slow process to date. Community officials asked Mayor Michael Bloomberg to waive that rule and allow qualified outsiders to come to Rockaway and other impacted areas to do the inspections. Assemblyman Philip Goldfeder called the system “intolerable” in light of the number of homes that need the inspection and promised to put pressure in the city to change its rules.
As a result Goldfeder announced along with Congressman Gregory Meeks on Saturday night that the city has ultimately decided to waive that previous restriction allowing restoration to homes as early as this week instead of the “several more weeks” estimate that LIPA was telling its customers.
“The plan was introduced on Friday and last night we were on conference call,” Goldfeder told The Wave on Saturday night. “It was unacceptable for LIPA and the mayor to think that we should have to wait a few weeks longer for power to get restored.”
Here’s what residents have to do in order to get power turned on as quick as possible.
· Have your electrical equipment inspected and, if necessary, cleaned and repaired by a licensed electrical contractor. The contractor must then submit a completed “Self-Certification” form that is signed and sealed directly to LIPA. Form is provided by your licensed electrical contractor. Residents who choose this option will have to pay out of pocket initially, but can later apply for reimbursement through FEMA.
· Your contractor will then submit the Self-Certification Form to LIPA by faxing it to (631) 844-3643, emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org or by delivering it to the temporary service center at Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive in Rockaway Park.
· Once certification is submitted, LIPA will issue a service turn-on for your location. Power will be restored within 24-72 hours. LIPA does the service turn-on internally and no action needs to be taken by residents.
LIPA officials will be also be on hand tomorrow at a community meeting at 1 p.m. in the parking lot next to the 100th Precinct on 94th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard to take any questions from the public.
For more information on the announcement click HERE
A no-cost alternative to the above mentioned process will begin on Tuesday, November 13, when homeowners will be able sign up for NYC Rapid Repairs. The free program is setup to send teams of contractors and City inspectors to Rockaway to quickly make necessary repairs to damaged homes, getting them ready for power restoration. To register for Rapid Repairs visit NYC.gov or call 311. You will need a FEMA ID number, which you can get by registering at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362. Once NYC Rapid Repairs inspects your home you will then be eligible to have the power restored in 24 to 72 hours by LIPA.
Goldfeder has also setup a temporary office number at 718-805-0950 for anyone with questions.