During times of emergency, The Foggiest Idea consolidates the reports of various news outlets to provide accurate, timely, and useful information to help reduce the spread of misinformation that jeopardizes timely response.

Sources of consolidated updates include the offices of local and state elected officials, agencies such as the National Weather Service and Centers for Disease Control, and publications such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Newsday.

Given the widespread loss of power across the New York metropolitan region in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias, TFI is keeping a running thread of the latest developments and policy analysis. Please be mindful of the time and date, highlighted in bold, of each update.

By Richard Murdocco


Despite it being eight days since Tropical Storm Isaias rumbled through the region, thousands still remain without power, forcing residents to confront unrelenting late-summer heat and humidity head-on. On Long Island, the outages persist despite promises made by PSEG Long Island’s president Daniel Eichhorn that the power would be restored Sunday.

What once was frustration has boiled into rage. Making matters worse is the fact that experts say that Isaias wasn’t exactly a spectacular storm.

“It did what a full-fledged tropical storm would do,” Craig Allen, chief meteorologist for WCBS 880 told The Foggiest Idea, adding that “there isn’t really much of a difference between a top-level tropical storm and a category one hurricane.” You can read more of Allen’s expertise in TFI‘s all-new exclusive column on the storm response here.

While original estimates pegged the storm causing upward of 420,000 outages, Newsday reporting found that the total number of outages from the storm and its aftermath may exceed 800,000 customers, a fact since confirmed by PSEG. As of 6:30 AM, the utility reported that just over 15,500 still lacked power.

In New York City and Westchester, Con Edison is reporting a total of 2,700 outages, with only 630 related to Isaias. The utility says that 400 outages are located within Westchester County, 190 in Queens, and the remaining are within Brooklyn and the Bronx. “The remaining outages involve particularly extensive damage and complicated restorations for individual customers,” a Con Ed statement noted.

For some on Long Island, all it took to turn the lights back on was a simple flip of a switch. “The verdict was a breaker switch that just had to be flipped,” Marc Williams, a resident of Westbury of had no power for a week, told Newsday. “It took the guy all of two minutes to fix.”


A week after Isaias hit the region, thousands across New York City, Long Island and Westchester remain without power as frustration with the utility companies continues to grow among residents and elected officials.

According to Newsday, PSEG Long Island is reporting that nearly 32,000 customers were without power. Of these outages, only 6,600 are from the damage caused by Tropical Storm Isaias on August 4th. Con Edison is reporting that nearly 12,000 lacked electricial service within New York City and Westchester.

The outages persist despite multiple promises made by PSEG LI’s president Daniel Eichhorn that storm-related outages would be restored by Sunday evening. As of writing, PSEG officials are now saying that restoration efforts are expected to extend into Wednesday and beyond. “We are tracking new outages reported after the storm, recognizing that some of these jobs tie back to Tuesday’s storm,” the company said. “The restoration process is iterative and as we restore neighborhoods, we continue to identify a high level of individual problems within neighborhoods and individual service lines to homes.”

On Monday, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and six state lawmakers held a press conference in Mineola urging PSEG to reconsider it’s longstanding policy of not covering food spoilage from it’s customers. According to Eichhorn, PSEG is in talks with LIPA about covering the losses, but an agreement has yet to be reached. Meanwhile, Con Ed is currently offering up to $500 to their customers for spoilage.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo was blunt during a conference call with reporters Monday afternoon. “Con Ed and PSEG did a lousy job. It’s a technical term — a lousy job. They were not prepared, and they didn’t anticipate what it would take to get back online quickly,” he said.  “I want the utilities to know that we do not abide by the concept in New York that anything is too big to fail,” the governor added, threatening that their “franchise can be revoked.”

PSEG Long Island’s agreement to operate the regional grid for LIPA, which has been in place since 2014 after a botched response to a series of storms, including Sandy, in previous years, is fairly uncommon. Since LIPA is a state authority and PSEG exists as an investor-owned utility, neither are under the direct jurisdiction of the state Department of Public Service, resulting in the state having less legal teeth to work with.

However, Newsday did find that PSEG’s long-term service contract with LIPA gives the authority the right to terminate the agreement under certain conditions, including “any failure or refusal” by PSEG to perform “any material obligation” under the contract. PSEG would be granted the opportunity to take actions to “cure such failure” for up to 60 days before LIPA could end the relationship between the two entities.

In the past, Cuomo hasn’t been shy about using his authority to revoke a utility’s license. In 2019, the governor threatened to pull National Grid’s license after the utility was accused by the state of holding back gas service across the Nassau/Suffolk region after New York regulators blocked the construction of a $1 billion natural gas pipeline.

“I am not bluffing,” Cuomo said matter-of-factly. “If you’re not serving the people of this state, they give you a license to provide a service. If you don’t provide the service, they will revoke the license and the license is your franchise.”

UPDATE AS OF 10:30 AM, MONDAY, AUGUST 10th, 2020

With summer heat that is slated to be increasingly relentless, many sit without electric – and air conditioning – nearly a week after Tropical Storm Isaias slammed into the Tri-state.

According to the latest reports, more than 45,000 PSEG Long Island customers remain without power, while Con Edision is still grappling with 27,000 outages across New York City. The outages, already a source of widespread disdain, will become increasingly dangerous as the National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for much of the region running through Wednesday.

Reports in Newsday are saying that there are troubling discrepancies concerning the reported number of outages across PSEG’s grid, showcasing the various communications issues the utility has experienced since Tuesday.

While the latest figures show that the majority of outages on Long Island remain concentrated in Nassau County, the total number of impacted residents perplexingly continues to climb. Daniel Eichhorn, PSEG Long Island’s president and chief operating officer, attributed the differences to other power outages unrelated Isaias, though the company couldn’t immediately explain to Newsday why their outage tallies are still rising.

The differences in reported numbers have made it difficult for both residents and policymakers to fully understand the scale of the lingering outages, and there have been growing calls for the ouster of the chiefs of both PSEG Long Island and LIPA by elected officials.

On Sunday, the president of Con Ed had told AMNY that the they the utility had expected any remaining outages throughout Westchester and New York City to be restored by 11 PM Sunday night, a deadline since missed. In Nassau and Suffolk Counties, restoration is expected by late Monday night, a time frame that has already been pushed back on multiple occasions.

The Foggiest Idea has published an all-new exclusive column on PSEG Long Island’s storm response. You can read the piece here.


Five days since Tropical Storm Isaias struck the Tri-State area, over 90,000 utility customers across New York City and Long Island remain without power, a figure that is surely higher by tens of thousands when you factor in the number of people per household or apartment building. Of these total outages, 60,000 are located on Long Island under the jurisdiction of PSEG Long Island, while New York City’s Con Edison is still facing around 27,000 outages, concentrated primarily in Queens.

PSEG has said that they expect to have power restored by end of day Sunday, with some of the more complex outages being repaired by Monday. The utility is claiming that more than 5,000 fallen trees or large limbs have been reported on their lines since Tuesday.

Service on transmission lines and substations, key elements of the regional electric distribution system, has been restored, but the issue causing lingering outages is due to the lagged restoration of the distribution system that serves individual neighborhoods. PSEG saying that the damage to these circuits is “extensive.”

Pictured: The clean-up after Isaias continues five days after the storm hit, making the high-pitched whine of chainsaws the unofficial soundtrack of many neighborhoods as residents take clean-up into their own hands. (Photo Source – PSEG LI)

Daniel Eichhorn,  PSEG Long Island’s president and chief operating officer, acknowledged the company’s sustained failures on Long Island to Newsday reporters. “We’re extremely disappointed in the experience that we provided to customers in the communications area … ,” Eichhorn said, saying a complete review of what went wrong will be conducted. “We’ll do a full investigation. We’ll understand why those communications issues existed. It did make it difficult for customers to receive estimated time of arrivals.”

Further unrest is brewing as PSEG went to great lengths on Saturday to remind their customers that they are not liable for any food-related losses due to the storm. Many in the region had stockpiles of food due to the coronavirus pandemic that has since spoiled.

“If you are contacting us to report a claim, please note that PSEG Long Island is not responsible for damages caused by weather related conditions,” the utility’s site says. “Therefore, we would be unable to honor your claim for damages,” they added in bold for additional emphasis.

Other utilities in the region are taking a different tack as Con Ed has since expanded their storm loss program to give ailing residents who lost power for more than 48 consecutive hours the chance to recoup the losses from “spoiled food, medication or perishable commercial merchandise.” Residents can file a claim with the utility for these items here.

Overall, the political push-back has been swift. New York State Attorney General Letitia James has formally launched an inquiry into PSEG Long Island’s preparation and response to Tropical Storm Isaias to “determine whether violations of state law have occurred,” according to a letter sent to the utility dated on August 6th.

The action comes as a cascade of investigations into the communicative breakdowns have been promised by elected officials in recent days. On Saturday, New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins announced she would be holding hearings on the subject the week of August 17th. The call for legislative hearings in Albany follow Governor Andrew Cuomo’s directive for the state Department of Public Service to look into what went wrong.

An in-depth investigation conducted by Newsday found that a large volume of calls, texts, and visits to the utility’s website and/or mobile app immediately overwhelmed PSEG Long Island’s systems during the height of the storm, resulting in residents being unable to report outages properly. This, paired with internet and telephone outages, compounded problems for the already beleaguered systems.


As the sun rose Saturday morning, over 100,000 PSEG Long Island customers remained without power across Nassau and Suffolk Counties despite the utility’s claim that 85% of customer outages would restored by the end of day Friday. PSEG has since pushed their restoration estimates back to Monday, August 10th.

“We expect nearly all customers to be restored by end of day Sunday, with the possibility that a handful of the most extensive jobs may be restored early Monday,” the company said in a public statement. “While we expect the vast majority of customers to be restored by end of day Saturday, we are finding that each job is requiring more work than anticipated due to the extent of the storm’s damage.”

Pictured: Days after winds from Tropical Storm Isaias tore across Long Island, over 100,000 PSEG LI customers remain without power. The outages persist despite years of multi-million dollar storm hardening measures being undertaken by the utility. (Photo Source – PSEG LI)

Residents who have been sitting in the dark since Tuesday are enraged. “Stop making promises when you have no idea when we will be restored,” Joy Rubel of Old Westbury wrote the utility on their Facebook page, claiming that a fire from a downed line on her block has gone unaddressed for days.

The lingering outages persist despite a series of multi-million dollar upgrades to Long Island’s grid, which included $730 million in storm hardening through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a $30 million new outage management system.

In a detailed analysis of what went wrong with PSEG Long Island’s response to Isaias, Newsday found  that more than six years of planning and assurances of readiness had failed. Analysis of PSEG’s troubles are likely to be expand as New York State and local investigations, including one from the state Department of Public Service that was requested by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, and public hearings before the Nassau County Legislature, get underway in the coming days.

In New York City, Con Edison reported on Saturday morning that just over 32,700 customers were still without power. More than half of those outages are still concentrated in Queens. Con Ed officials told NY 1 that most New York City residents will have their power back by Sunday night, but some will have to wait until early next week to have their power restored. In Westchester County, also served by Con Ed, 53,000 customers were out of service with the utility estimating that local restoration times will vary from tomorrow at 3:00 pm to 11:00 p.m. on August 10th.


The sound of sputtering generators and the high-pitched whine of chainsaws crept across the dark last night as crews dispatched from PSEG Long Island worked throughout the night clearing debris from a tangled web of electrical lines and downed telephone poles.

Even with their constant efforts, as of writing there are still 108,000 customers in the Nassau/Suffolk region lacking electric. The total number of outages is down 70% or so from a peak of 440,000, a higher peak outage figure than was previously reported by the utility.

Regionwide, the number of powerless residents remain staggering, with a net total of 1.4 million residents still being impacted days after Tropical Storm Isaias rumbled through.

In hard-hit Connecticut, where Isaias appeared to hit harder compared to either New York or New Jersey, more than 500,000 households and businesses remained in the dark.  Eversource, the electrical utility in the area, said restorations will take “several days.”

Across New York City and Westchester County, around 123,000 Con Edison customers remain without power. Timothy P. Cawley, Con Ed’s president, told The New York Times that the work to restore electricity to all of them could last well into Monday. The outages remain mostly concentrated in Queens, with nearly 60,000 city residents lacking electrical service throughout the outer borough. Adding to the pain, an additional 180,000 Con Ed customers in Manhattan and Queens lost electricity during the early morning hours. Con Ed said the outages were caused by issues with its “transmission system.” Both outages have since been restored.

On Long Island, many are growing weary. “We understand that with so many customers working from home and with others unable to go out, you depend on us now more than ever,” PSEG Long Island said in a statement issued on Facebook. “Thank you for your continued patience and understanding throughout this difficult time.”

In an email statement to ratepayers late last night, Ralph Izzo, chairman, president and CEO of PSEG Long Island, wrote that they “expect that 85% of all affected PSEG Long Island customers will be restored by the end of Friday, with remaining outages restored by Saturday.” Izzo’s message stressed that the storm’s impact on telecommunication networks had no impact on restoration efforts, and claimed that utility was still able to assess the full extent of the damage and dispatch crews to the impacted areas.

Crews from Ohio, Kentucky, and Florida are expected to join the clean-up effort today, and New York State is paying 7,000 workers to supplement PSEG Long Island’s crews. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo isn’t exactly thrilled he had to deploy the resources. “I’m not in the business of providing utility service,” he said. “That’s their business so we have to call out state employees to do this. That further aggravates the situation.”

Residents weren’t very receptive to the company’s “please-be-patient” messaging. “You were brought in after Sandy because LIPA did such a bad job and you claimed you would be better,” Melinda Weissman, a frustrated resident who lives in Huntington Station, wrote in response. “You spend more time online posting than you do restoring power,” Leigh Murtz, resident of Plainview, added.

Other residents from a diverse array of communities such as Old Bethpage, Commack, and Shoreham claimed to the utility company that they haven’t seen a utility truck in their area since the storm struck on Tuesday.

Pictured: A PSEG LI crew clears fallen trees left behind by Tropical Storm Isaias. As of Friday, the utility company is claiming that 85% of outages on Long Island will be restored by Saturday evening. (Photo Credit – PSEG Long Island)

Making matters worse, the utility’s outage map, which many residents use to assess the scope of damage from the storm, continues to report outdated information, including 100,000 more outages than was communicated to the media. The company says the lag in reporting data is a result of the large number of crews that were brought into the region from other utilities, and that power restoration is progressing faster than can be displayed on the outage map.

Even LIPA, who took a such a battering after Sandy and a subsequent surprise nor’easter, that they lost management of the electrical grid, is piling on. According to the latest reports in Newsday, the Long Island Power Authority has hired an outside firm to conduct an independent review of PSEG’s response to the storm, which LIPA’s chief executive called “unacceptable.” PSEG has managed LIPA’s grid under a long-term contract since 2014.

The Foggiest Idea will be analyzing the utility’s response to the storm in an all-new exclusive column. Stay tuned.


With thousands of toppled trees ensnared in the lines that provide households and businesses with both electric and telecommunication services, many across New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut spent a sweltering afternoon on Wednesday wondering when the lights, or very least, WiFi, would return. On Thursday morning, the power was still off for over two million residents.

Across the region, utilities have been battered by a growing chorus of withering criticism from politicians, ranging from local village officials to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. “The fact that many customers still do not know when their power will be restored makes it even more unacceptable,” Cuomo said late Wednesday. “The worst of this situation was avoidable, and it cannot happen again.”

In a blistering statement, the executive office wrote that “the apparent lack of adequate planning by utility companies” has caused the governor to direct the Department of Public Service to launch an investigation into the responses by Verizon, PSEG Long Island, Con Edison, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Orange and Rockland Utilities, and New York State Electric & Gas, with the goal of determining “the causes of their failures.”

Pictured: LIRR crews clear debris left behind by Tropical Storm Isaias on the Port Jefferson Branch in the Smithtown area on Wednesday. Transit crews worked 24/7 in order to clear the system’s tracks, bringing service online early Thursday. (Photo Credit -MTA/LIRR)

Still, progress is being made in re-energization of the region – albeit, slowly.

On Long Island, 160,000 PSEG Long Island customers remained without power, down from a peak of roughly 420,000 outages. Con Edison, which powers both New York City and Westchester, is reporting that over 149,000 are still in the dark. The outages across New York City are primarily concentrated in the outer boroughs.

According to Newsday, PSEG Long Island’s outage map was still showing that more than 271,000 customers were without power, a discrepancy their reporters say went unaddressed by the utility as of writing Thursday morning.

In response to the growing political unrest, PSEG Long Island has said in emailed communication to customers that “repair crews have been working 16-hour shifts around the clock since the storm hit,” noting that over 2,000 workers are currently deployed, including personnel from other utilities. Additional support for their clean-up efforts arrived on Wednesday.

Dan Eichhorn, President of PSEG Long Island, told Newsday on Wednesday that service was restored to 244,000 customers, and that he expects the majority of power to be restored by Thursday evening. He added that some in the area will not be getting power until the end of day Saturday. Eichhorn did not specify to the publication which areas would see their power restored first. Typically, utilities work to restore electric service to critically important community institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes before moving onto businesses and private residences.

In addition, the governor also declared a formal State of Emergency in areas hardest-hit by the storm. The counties included in the order were: Bronx, Dutchess, Kings, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester. The action allows local governments additional financial and operation support towards their clean-up efforts.

Long Island Rail Road service was restored system-wide, allowing commuters to once again shuttle between the suburbs and New York City two days after storm debris forced the rails into a total shutdown.


A restrengthened Tropical Storm Isaias slammed into the New York region on Tuesday afternoon, leaving in it’s wake hundreds of thousands without power, closing area bridges, and temporarily crippling the Long Island Railroad, Metro-North, and NJ Transit systems.

As of writing, power outages across New York City and Long Island collectively top 534,000, leaving many in the dark wondering what progress, if any, has been made in hardening the electrical grid since Superstorm Sandy struck the region in 2012.

Both Con Edison and PSEG Long Island, which provide utility service to the city and the surrounding suburbs, called the damage Isaias’ wrecked unprecedented. In New York City, the utility says that Isaias is now responsible for the second-largest in Con Ed’s history.  A statement released by the Con Ed yesterday said that the fast-moving tropical storm left 257,000 customers out of power, surpassing Hurricane Irene’s 204,000 outages in August 2011. By comparison, Hurricane Sandy, left 1.1 million in New York City with out power.

On Long Island, PSEG Long Island has told residents to expect prolonged outages due to the severity of the situation. Currently, over 343,000 PSEG Long Island customers don’t have power. “Since the storm hit, more than 2,000 personnel have been working to determine the extent of damage and make repairs,” a statement from the utility read. “This includes crews we brought in from other utilities and more will be arriving today. Tens of thousands of customers have already had power restored.” PSEG Long Island is already taking heavy flak from frustrated residents who say they struggled to both reach them and report outages.

Pictured: A downed tree rests on power lines along Vanderbilt Parkway in Dix Hills. While Tropical Storm Isaias moved quickly northeast up the I-95 corridor, the storm left a considerable trail of damage. (Photo Credit – Richard Murdocco/The Foggiest Idea)

Elected officials agree, saying the utility hasn’t done enough to communicate with the public. “It’s completely unacceptable that so many residents are still without power and can’t get in contact with PSEG LI 12 hours after a storm we all knew was coming,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran tweeted late Wednesday morning. “Our crews have worked all night to clear debris and downed trees, but many residents are still waiting for answers from PSEG. My office will continue to demand answers for residents still in the dark, who deserve nothing less.”

According to Newsday, the Long Island Rail Road was able to restore service early Wednesday on the Babylon, Far Rockaway, Hempstead, Huntington, Ronkonkoma, Long Beach, Port Washington and West Hempstead branches after a system-wide suspension during the height of the storm.

However, LIRR service is still not running on the Port Jefferson, Montauk, Oyster Bay and Greenport branches “due to fallen trees, downed utility poles and power lines” on the tracks, an MTA statement said. The LIRR noted that service is also suspended to and from the Greenport station and between Huntington and Port Jefferson.

“This was a wind event that was, in some ways, a worse storm than superstorm Sandy was. That was certainly the case on Long Island,” MTA chairman Patrick Foye told WCBS 880 radio. “There was extraordinary damage done to the Long Island Rail Road system — about 100 trees down in over 30 to 40 locations.”