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Con Ed to New Castle: Snowstorm Caught Us By Surprise

MILLWOOD, N.Y. – During Thursday night’s Millwood Task Force meeting, Dave Desanti, Con Edison’s general manager of operations in Westchester, admitted he and his crews were caught by surprise with the severity of last Saturday’s snowstorm.

“The snowstorm was a lot heavier than folks expected,” said Desanti, who compared the storm to tropical storm Irene. “It really was around the same size. We don’t expect the tree canopy to get hit with that much snow. It’s a freak event.”

Desanti said based on weather forecasts, people were prepared for about four inches of snow, however, Westchester was hit with more than twice that in some areas. He also said the snow was wetter than expected.

According to Desanti, New Castle was hit far worse than many other areas in the county. He said approximately 34 percent of customers lost power in Westchester, while 76 percent of New Castle residents were affected.

“You look at an aerial view of Chappaqua, you can’t even see the streets,” Desanti said in regards to the amount to trees. “It’s very beautiful, but it also plays hell with the electric set-up.”

Despite the massive power loss in New Castle, Desanti said Con Edison still accomplished its initial estimated time restoration. Within 12 hours of the end of the storm, the company estimated that 90 percent of its customers would be restored by midnight on Thursday, which he said was achieved. Town Supervisor Barbara Gerrard commended the efforts of Con Edison.

“They did a phenomenal job today,” said Gerrard, who spent most of Thursday visiting affected areas throughout New Castle. Con Edison called in help from crews as far out as Tennessee and Michigan to help with the damage, according to Desanti.

He also addressed the topic of reimbursement for food items lost during the power outage, but said most claims will have to be taken up with individual insurance companies and Con Edison is not responsible.

“There has to be a notion of negligence,” said Desanti. “It’s really an insurance function, so really there has to be some negligence on our part for us to pay a claim. And in a storm, you know, the term’s ‘natural disaster.’"

According to Desanti, “just about everyone” will be back in service by Friday. He said only 2,000 customers remain without power in the county and only 77 in New Castle.

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