Written by Wendy Kreitzman Thursday, 06 June 2013 00:00
Cablevision weathered Superstorm Sandy quite well, working 24/7, with lots of outages, but most of those outages due to the loss of LIPA power. Many on the Great Neck peninsula who were fortunate not to lose power (luck or a generator) found that their cable services were up and running. Jeffrey Clark, Cablevision’s director of government affairs, spoke to public officials at the recent Great Neck Village Officials meeting and explained that extra generators kept cable services running.
Although two million Cablevision customers were without service during the storm, Cablevision backup batteries and generators insured that those with power did have telephone, television and Internet services. There actually were Cablevision employees “baby-sitting” those vital generators at strategic locations. Unlike LIPA, Cablevision was able to track just where there were outages and where power was on.
All over the Great Neck area, trees took down power lines. Cablevision shares the lines with LIPA and Verizon, but does not own the lines.
During the storm, though, Cablevision’s WiFi “hot spots” were working and those customers signed in to the system were able to log on at specific places through-out the peninsula and places such as coffee shops in Great Neck provided respite and Internet service during the storm and the days following.
One issue for Cablevison was the lack of adequate fuel supplies to fill up trucks to go out to do storm repairs. The solution was “creative thinking,” according to Clark. Generators were brought to gas stations, the stations would fill the Cablevision trucks, the trucks could go off to work, and the service stations had borrowed power.
As for getting to troubled areas, Cablevision worked well with LIPA and OEM (Nassau County’s Office of Emergency Management). Crucial roads were cleared and Cablevision knew which roads were open.
In total, Superstorm Sandy cost Cablevision $111 million. Part of that cost was when Cablevision was not able to keep up with LIPA repairs and they refunded money to customers who did not have their cable services.
And even though Cablevision kept systems going during the storm and the after-math, Clark said that they are still taking steps for further improvements. He noted that Cablevision now has its own OEMs and they have added emergency call numbers.
Though they “worked well with the villages,” they are now working on issues such as fuel in emergencies, more plans with OEM, supplies and staff changes. “We did okay,” said Clark, adding that they are looking to do even better.