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Jimmy Hyland

HALF OF LI'S STORM RESPONDERS COULD BE SIDELINED NEXT TIME

Don Daley's picture
by Don Daley on
Nov 16, 2012

Press Release from Business Manager Don Daley of IBEW 1049: Flawed LIPA agreement keeps thousands of LI's power restoration workers on the sidelines Our community has been through so much these past few weeks. Lives have been lost, homes destroyed, and thousands of our neighbors are still without power. The images in the papers have been sobering and these are trying times for all Long Islanders. We have 3000 IBEW Local 1049 Members, together with thousands of other responders, working tirelessly during a very dangerous time putting their fellow Long Islanders back in power. Many of our members are returning to their own cold and dark homes each night. They have been doing this day in and day out knowing that their families, neighbors and friends depend on them. What about next time? Most Long Islanders are unaware that Governor Cuomo has already signed off on a plan that has half of the 3000 National Grid workers - who currently respond to Long Island disasters like Sandy - no longer available. They will be sitting home during the next emergency. Why? Because earlier this year New York decided to split up the workforce that has been trained and qualified to perform storm restoration. In 1997, LIPA awarded a 15 year management services agreement to the newly formed KeySpan Energy Corporation where it would provide the technical management and labor force necessary to maintain the transmission and distribution network. KeySpan, also owned the Long Island natural gas system and the power plants on Long Island. This was a good fit because the workforce employed at these facilities is extensively cross trained to perform emergency storm restoration. In early 2012 LIPA awarded the contract for servicing the transmission and distribution system to PSEG of New Jersey. While PSEG comes to Long Island with a well deserved reputation for commitment to customer service, there is one important question that must be answered. How will storm restoration improve when you are losing over half of the current Long Island workforce? The next storm doesn't have to be as devastating as Sandy. If New York's decision is not revisited, Long Islanders will be facing long power outages from smaller storms. For many decades, the fully trained Local 1049 workforce has responded to put Long Islanders back in service. Call LIPA, National Grid and Governor Cuomo and ask them what's going to happen when PSEG comes to Long Island and they get hit with a storm with only half the workforce to restore power. http://ibew1049.org/

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