'It's Like We Don't Exist': Customers With Medical Conditions Voice Upset With PSEG Long Island

By WCBS Newsradio 880

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — Complaints are piling up against PSEG Long Island from elderly residents who have medical conditions and no power days after Tropical Storm Isaias

PSEG Long Island enoucarged people with medical conditions to sign up for the utility's Critical Care Program, which is supposed to give priority to people on that list when restoring power.

But at Woodbury Gardens, a senior townhouse community, many residents who signed up for the program were still in the dark as of Friday afternoon. They tell WCBS 880's Sophia Hall that they are sick, scared and upset.

Resident Natalie Schecter worries about her 76-year-old husband, who has COPD.

"You can't get through to them, you can't tell them my husband can't breathe, I can't tell them that he could have a heart attack," Schecter said. "This whole community has not been put first, it's like we don't exist."

Her neighbor, 88-year-old Sally Bloom, has asthma and without the air conditioner she is finding it difficult to breathe.

"This is really sad that this is happening in our community," Bloom said. 

Woddbury Garden Residents

In Huntington, 98-year-old Phyllis is legally blind and has trouble walking. Her says she is also on the Critical Care List and still doesn't have electricity back.

"It's like as if there is a program, but it's just there to make people feel good. But it's really not working," her daughter said. "I called the Critical Care line, they said to me, 'You're not going to see it until Saturday.' I said, 'Why? Most of my block has it already.' She goes, 'I can't answer that I only read what's on the screen.' And I said, ' Well I can see that too on a computer so why are you there?'" 

Senator Jim Gaughran is fighting to get the lights on for residents.

In a statement to WCBS 880 the utility said, "During this restoration, customers with medical issues who contact us will be escalated, whether or not they are currently in the Critical Care program. We encourage customers to be prepared and to sign up for the Critical Care program before a storm hits. Once the restoration is complete, they can call 1-800-490-0025 to get started."

Customers have been complaining all week about communication issues with the utility. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has demanded a review of PSEG Long Island and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also directed the state to ivestigate the storm response of all of New York's utilities.

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