On Thursday, March 15 County Executive Maryellen Odell presented a State of the County Address with a loud and clear message that our county is fiscally strong and responsible. It was a lengthy event which included an update on the County response to the double-fisted storms and power outages we experienced. Infrastructure has been one of Odell’s priorities ever since she took office. It is obvious that water and sewer is sorely needed to develop and support economic growth, yet the state of our power supply is appalling to say the least. Was the reaction time of New York State Electric and Gas a factor?
According to Odell, the County took all the right precautions for the storm, yet crews were sitting around for days waiting for NYSEG to identify the live wires so roads could be cleared. This is unacceptable. Personally, I found it extremely difficult. 6 days of no power at my home or office. A week of no school. I am blessed however to be able to work from the car, if need be. Other local businesses however did not have it so easy. Many local business owners have stated losses of anywhere of $4,000 to $40,000 in income and damaged inventory.
8 days after the initial power outage, power went out again for a few hours in downtown Mahopac during prime time on a Saturday afternoon. Shops were full of clients. One local restaurant had a party of 125 that had just walked in. The damage and the loss are one thing. The loss of momentum is another. Area elected officials plan to hold NYSEG accountable. This was not only an inconvenience but also affects the value of properties and businesses in our area. People will surely think twice about locating in an area where power outages for over 24 hours have become common. NYSEG should address these concerns, and a more comprehensive plan for backup power should be put in place at the local level.
-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, “A business advocacy group”