Representative Kathleen M. Rice (NY-04) and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran called on PSEG Long Island President & Chief Operating Officer, Daniel Eichhorn, to refund the previous month’s utility bill and reimburse for spoiled food, medication, or other perishable items for customers who have endured power outages lasting over 24 hours. Over 400,000 Long Islanders lost power in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias and some customers remain without power to date.
In the letter, Rep. Rice and County Executive Curran write:
Dear Mr. Eichhorn,
We write to you today to urge PSEG Long Island to offer refunds on the previous month’s utility bill and reimbursements for spoiled food, medication, or other perishable items to customers who have experienced prolonged outages in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias.
More than 400,000 customers lost power in the aftermath of this storm. While many had power restored within the first 24 hours, more than 140,000 customers were still left without electricity over 24 hours later. PSEG’s website has repeatedly crashed and calls and texts from customers have gone unanswered.
A prolonged power outage is difficult under normal circumstances, but in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it can be disastrous. Families have stored food in their refrigerators to limit trips to the grocery store and these items have now had to be discarded. Access to electricity, especially the internet, is critically important to Long Island residents at this time. New Yorkers working from home depend on consistent and reliable utility services. Not only is it vital to have air conditioning available during the hottest month of the year, but internet access is a necessity to clock in for work and to visit with doctors from the safety of one’s home.
Because of these hardships, we urge you to offer our constituents who have endured outages lasting more than 24 hours financial relief in the form of a refund on past bills. At least one of your local competitors, Con Edison, is offering reimbursements for spoiled food, medication, or other perishable commercial merchandise. Taking these steps immediately would show compassion to a region that is still recovering from past storms and an unprecedented health crisis and could be facing more storms this hurricane season.
When PSEG Long Island took over from the Long Island Power Authority in 2014, our constituents were promised better service, better communication, and more accountability. After the failures we’ve witnessed from your handling of Isaias, we sincerely urge you to provide Long Island residents with financial relief.
We thank you in advance for your consideration and prompt response.
Kathleen M. Rice – Member of Congress
Laura Curran – Nassau County Executive