NEW YORK (AP) – More than 10,000 people in Queens entered their second week without electricity Monday, a major improvement from the 100,000 affected at height of the blackout but not enough to quell the anger over the outages.

Con Edison said that about 3,000 customers remained without electricity as of Monday afternoon. A customer can represent anything from a single-family home to an entire apartment building, roughly translated to four individuals per customer.

Con Edison had crews working around the clock to restore power, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the utility expected to make “big progress today.”

Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Bruno said Con Edison is “doing a good job,” and he encouraged residents to support workers and say “hello” to them.

But Bruno probably won’t win over people like Jack Yadegar, whose luggage shop was still dim Monday. “If this had happened in Manhattan, we’d never be in this position right now,” he said. “The power would have been up.”

“Every night I sleep in the heat I toss and turn and sweat,” he said. “I wake up angrier the next day.”

Meanwhile, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said that Con Edison “failed to heed the warnings from an earlier blackout and that the Public Service Commission’s oversight of the utility has been wholly inadequate.”

He pointed to a report he wrote in 2000 examining the effects of a 1999 blackout in Manhattan, and urged Con Edison to develop tests for detecting vulnerable equipment, and improve crisis communication with customers once power was restored.

State Sen. John Sabini, a Queens Democrat, said he has been getting several calls from residents begging him to help them get generators, or to help turn the power on.

“You get the feeling that some of these neighborhoods are considered an ‘oh, by the way,”‘ he said. “This neighborhood is an ‘oh, by the way’ with the blackout.”

Sabini was in Queens for a news conference held by the family of Andres Rodriguez, a 60-year-old man who died Friday.

His family claims he died as result of the blackout. “My father passed away because we had four days without electricity, he had diabetes and he needed the air conditioning to sleep,” said Andres G. Rodriguez, the son of Andres Rodriguez. “They could say whatever they want, but we know. We’re his family.”

But Ellen Borakove, spokeswoman for the New York City Medical Examiner, said Rodriguez died from natural causes, and the family has not requested an autopsy.

The family did not say if they would seek legal action, or if they would request an autopsy.

In White Plains, Con Edison’s director of emergency management, Mark Drexel, was criticized – politely by Westchester County legislators, less politely by customers – over the utility’s response to the 50,000 outages caused by recent storms including a tornado.

Cathy Bassett of Rye said that in the midst of a blackout last Tuesday she and her husband drove to a Con Ed office and were given the number of a “command center.”

When they called, the people on the other end “were so beside themselves that we had this number. … They said, “How did you get this number?’ We said, “Someone gave it to us because they care.’ They hung up on us.”

“You’re a monopoly and we’re powerless,” she told Drexel, who took her address.

Con Ed said all but 50 or 60 scattered households had been restored to service by Monday.


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