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Cuomo Calls Power Outages 'Unacceptable'

The governor, a New Castle resident, casts his vote and dismisses utilities' performance.

New Castle residents can count Gov. Andrew Cuomo as among those unhappy with the pace of Con Edison's power restoration in town in response to Hurricane Sandy hitting

“Unacceptable," he said. "I'm as frustrated as anyone and I told the utility companies in no uncertain terms, on a number of occasions, they're going to be held accountable.”

The governor, who lives in New Castle, was asked to weigh in on the situation after he finished voting Tuesday morning at his polling place, the Presbyterian Church of Mount Kisco. 

As of Tuesday morning, the number of Con Edison customers in New Castle without power stood at more than 3,000, according to the company's outage map, more than a week after Sandy battered the region.

Cuomo, who expressed general frustration with power companies in the restoration, also suggested revisiting the franchise agreements of utilities that fail to perform.

“Consumers pay their bill and they expect performance – and they have a right to expect performance – and these utility companies, they, this is not a god-given right to be a utility company. It's not an internal monopoly. They are granted the franchise by the state and it's the state's responsibly to make sure they're performing and we will.”

Cuomo is certainly not alone in town among those who are mad at the power company.

“It is unacceptable," said Maxine Highbloom, a resident who has been without power, when asked about Cuomo's remark.

Highbloom, who lives with her husband Lloyd on Route 133, said that Con Edison supervisors have looked at the problem for her home, to no effect. Talking with reporters, she also described the damage to her home as "unbelievable" and was uncertain about its structural situation.

“They are absolutely the worst, uncaring," she said about Con Edison. Highbloom also that she is a Con Edison shareholder and plans to sell stock "because they should be taken over." 

The Highblooms are staying in their home, Lloyd Highbloom explained, amid unavailable hotel space.

Also among those still without power is New Castle Supervisor Susan Carpenter, who has been criticized by residents due to the pace of restoration but is herself frustrated with the power company.

“Con Ed was not ready for it," Carpenter said.

Talking to reporters after voting, Cuomo also weighed in, more broadly, on the election cycle, which includes Democratic President Barack Obama's bid for a second term against Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

“These are big issues that the state and this nation are facing," Cuomo, a Democrat, told reporters. "Leadership is important. The path that we pick is important, so I think, you know, in decades, this is probably one of the most important elections that we've had in this state and this nation, and I urge people to participate.”

The governor added, “I have my preference, I have my opinions, I shared them with the people of this state and more than anything people should just vote.”

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DF November 06, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Gov. Cuomo... you are a joke. You are grand standing! The men and woman at the utility companies are dealing with natural disaster on a scale unseen. Rather then showboating for the media, nice fake smile at your water bottle photo op the other day, you should be working at getting the resources for our state. You are supposed to lead. All I have seen is you and bloomberg patting each other on the back. Well done Gov... And for those of you who are crying about the inconvenience of no power, head out to Rockaway or Midland Beach... thats who we all should be focusing on now. And if you live in westchester and have elderly neighbors, check in on them, make them know you are there for them if they need you.
Robert Solari November 07, 2012 at 11:28 AM
I agree with DF. I also believe that we need to pass new laws in New York State, that require all service stations to have back up generators. Hess has them in all there stations. I'm more upset about Con Ed not accepting the 150 generators from the non union drivers, who drove two days to get them to New York. Now is not the time to for that Union bull&%t.
Robert Solari November 07, 2012 at 11:32 AM
I'm sorry I meant to say 150 Transformers.

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