Con Ed Customers: 'Why So Long' With No Power?

Many survivors of Hurricane Sandy are still without power. They are cold and tired, but reluctant to leave their homes. Consolidated Edison says some homes need to be certified by an electrician before the utility can flip the switch.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

You'll forgive those of us who love New York City for thinking of it sometimes as the center of civilization. It's, among other things, a triumph of architecture and engineering, where some of the buildings are so close and interconnected, you can walk for blocks without going outside.

MONTAGNE: But in recent weeks, even New York received a reminder - if it was needed - that city is not immune to nature. A nor'easter dumped snow on a city still recovering from the flooding and power outages of Sandy.

NPR's Joel Rose visited one Brooklyn neighborhood where residents are wondering when life will begin to feel normal.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Residents of Sheepshead Bay in South Brooklyn lost power when Sandy made landfall 11 days ago. They're still waiting for the lights and the heat to come back on.

RICHARD CONZO: Now I'm staying in the house, but it's 46 degrees in there, and it is extremely hard to sleep.

BETH LEVY: I wear five sets of clothing at night. My teeth are chattering. I wake up, I can hardly move.

DAVID POSNER: You know, five blankets. Laying in the dark there, with a battery radio.

LEVY: We're freezing. Ten days with no electricity, heat or hot water is a bit much.

ROSE: Richard Conzo, David Posner and Beth Levy all stayed in their houses on Voorhies Avenue, even when temperatures dipped into the low 30s this week.

Beth Levy wonders why it's taking the local utility Con Edison so long to restore service to this pocket of Brooklyn.

LEVY: All I need is for them to step and do what they sent me my bill for. They sent me my bill yesterday in the mail.

ROSE: In the midst of all, this sent you a bill?

LEVY: They sent me a bill. They say it's just generated. It just comes naturally. Well, my check is not going to come naturally. I'm going to wait a while.

ROSE: To be fair, Con Ed trucks were all over Sheepshead Bay yesterday, although no one from the company wanted to talk for this story. But it may still be a few days before the lights are back on. Because of widespread flooding, Con Ed says residents need to get their homes certified by an electrician before the utility can flip the switch.

Joel Rose, NPR News, New York.

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