Nearly two weeks after Superstorm Sandy slammed into the northeast, more than 200,000 in the region still do not know when the lights will come on.
Hundreds of residents protested outside the Long Island Power Authority, frustrated by its slow response to outages, The Associated Press reported. LIPA has indicated that some of the 130,000 blacked out homes and businesses the utility serves may not have power restored until the end of Tuesday.
"We are sitting in a cold house. No one comes by," John Mangin, a resident of Levittown, N.Y., was quoted as saying. "There should be criminal charges against the CEO and the executive board of LIPA for failure to do their jobs," added Mangin, who was among 300 people protesting in front of LIPA's office in Hicksville, N.Y.
LIPA Chief Operating Officer Michael Hervey was quoted as responding that the company knew that customers had not got the information they were seeking, but he blamed it on an outdated information technology system. "I certainly feel the frustration of customers whose power remains out. Our hearts go out to them," he said.
"LIPA continues to mobilize additional resources, crews and equipment for the significant restoration efforts underway due to the unprecedented damage to its system by Hurricane Sandy and additional damage from Wednesday's Nor'easter," says a news release on LIPA website.
"We currently forecast about 95 percent of those customers impacted by the storm will be restored by end of day Tuesday," ABC News quoted John Bruckner of National Grid as saying. "We will continue to work tirelessly until all of them are restored."
More than 200,000 in the northeast are still without power, according to ABC News. Shortage of gasoline is compounding the crisis. Cars are lining up at stations that are actually open for business. Officials on Friday implemented an odd-even gas rationing system in New York City and Long Island.
"We have to do something," The Associated Press quoted New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as saying. "This is practical and enforceable and a lot better than doing nothing."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also implemented a rationing system. The new rules, he has said, have curbed lines from more than three hours to under an hour.
Christie has praised the utility companies. "These men and women on the utility companies are working 16-hour days, every day," Christie said Thursday. "So I know that unless your power is turned on that doesn't mean anything to you. But I'm telling you, I've watched these people work."