“#NYC family with 3 kids — including cancer survivor — rips Con Ed over power outage”
The Singhs in Queens Village are among some 5,300 New York residents stuck sweltering inside their powerless homes after Isaias knocked out electricity last Tuesday.
“We’ve been getting the run-around since Tuesday,” said mom Shameeza Singh, 31, of the day power to the family’s house on 216th Street conked out at 1:30 p.m. — the height of Isaias.
She said Con Ed changed its story about power restoration three times, with the utility last promising it’d be back by Monday morning.
“All three of those times, nothing happened,” she said. “Monday I called them in the morning to ask them what was going on because at that point it would be seven days [without power]. And I’m like, I have three young kids — [ages] 6, 5 and 2 — I need the power.”
All three of Shameeza and husband Michael’s children suffer from a rare genetic disorder called G6PD — including King, who beat acute lymphoblastic leukemia and will celebrate his 7th birthday cancer- and chemotherapy-free on Aug. 18.
The steamy temperatures coupled with the kids’ compromised immune systems have made the days difficult during the outage, especially as coronavirus rages.
“It’s been pretty hot and it’s just been extremely tough having children with special needs,” said Michael, 35.
“All we’ve been doing is try to stay outside until the mosquitoes start biting. Basically, we just go outside, we play. With [King] being immuno-compromised, we don’t go to the playgrounds. We go to the park and just run in the open, try to socially distance.”
The parents have even resorted to sticking King, Messiah, 5, and Faith, 2, in the car to cool down and have relied on arts and crafts during a trying time with no WiFi.
“It’s understandable to lose power but unacceptable to lose it for six days,” said Shameeza. “It’s dangerous, frustrating and challenging to the elderly and the young.”
Fed up and frustrated, they called interim Queens Borough President Sharon Lee for help.
“Con Ed failed Queens utterly and spectacularly,” Lee said at a press conference with the Singhs on Tuesday. “After repeated recovery failures, patience from the public has long expired. The only thing reliable about Con Ed post-Isaias was a consistent failure to communicate accurately and effectively to the public.”
The beep is leading demands from a slew of elected officials that Con Ed give its 73,000 Queens customers rebates on their August bills. She noted the utility’s electricity rates have hiked 13.5 percent over the last three years.
In 2008, Con Ed agreed to pay a $46 million rate benefit to its customers, including those in Queens, in the wake of a disastrous blackout the year before, Lee said.
Michael suggested Con Ed invest in improving its infrastructure — before another storm strikes.
“We pay our bills on time. Just give us our money’s worth,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time before this happens again because history tends to repeat itself and we don’t want another family in a worse position.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, 5,300 New Yorkers were still without power — including 4,100 in Westchester County, 950 in Queens and the rest in Brooklyn and the Bronx.
Con Ed said its crews are also working on 5,300 outages not related to Isaias.
Lee’s push for accountability comes after New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams floated the idea of a municipal takeover of the utility.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, meanwhile, said the Public Service Commission will investigate Con Ed’s and PSE&G’s responses to the storm.
Con Ed didn’t immediately comment.
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