By DEVLIN BARRETT, U.S. NEWS Updated November 2, 2012,
Federal Officials’ Tally of Emergency Power Supplies Shifts; Stricken States Tap Fraction of Equipment
Before Sandy struck, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials said they had 400 industrial-size power generators ready to help the East Coast. Three days after Sandy landed, only a fraction of that equipment is actually providing power, despite the fact that millions are still without electricity.
Before Sandy struck, Federal Emergency Management Agency officials said they had 400 industrial-size power generators ready to help the East Coast. Three days after Sandy landed, only a fraction of that equipment is actually providing power. Photo: REUTERS.
On Thursday, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said four generators were installed overnight. He said that by the end of the day, he expected there would be roughly 70 generators installed in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, but his figures didn’t jibe with those from state officials.
Utility trucks headed for storm-hit areas are loaded Thursday into an Air Force cargo jet at a California base.
Restoring power is a priority for federal officials, because so much of the cleanup depends on electricity. FEMA’s large, truck-delivered generators are different from ones that would supply a single-family home with electricity. Instead, they are meant to serve critical locations such as hospitals, nursing homes and government offices.
The delay comes partly because generators vary, so not all types of equipment can be used for every task. In cases such as storm recovery, FEMA provides states with information about the various generators they can tap. In turn, states must identify their needs and assign particular equipment from the FEMA allotment. Such assessments by state officials can take time as needs shift during the first few hours and days following a storm. Once states identify which equipment is needed, the Army Corps of Engineers manages the equipment, officials said.