A red-tagged home in one of Emmons Avenue’s waterfront bungalow colonies.

It’s clear to anyone who has been paying attention that power restoration has drastically slowed down since the first few days following Hurricane Sandy. Part of that is because, as Con Edison turned on power, fires were breaking out throughout the neighborhood as energy surged into flooded circuit breakers or sparked gas leaks.

(UPDATE: Con Ed has released a “simplified” certification process to get power on quicker.)

For residents’ safety and the safety of first responders, the city is now requiring the homeowners get their electricity and gas systems inspected before they restore services. Department of Buildings inspectors are also making the rounds, tagging flooded homes in Zone A with stickers that indicate whether the home can be reoccupied. We’ve already seen several in the Plumb Beach bungalow colonies that have been deemed unusable.

Here’s the rundown of what the Department of Buildings is doing, and what you need to do before you can have power or gas restored:

INFORMATION FOR HOMEOWNERS AFFECTED BY SANDY

Buildings affected by Hurricane Sandy may not be reoccupied without permission of the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB). DOB inspectors are placing green, yellow, or red stickers on buildings in flooded areas that indicate what you should to do safely reoccupy your home. If your building is tagged with a red sticker, it is not safe to enter.

If you receive a green or yellow sticker from DOB, you must have a NYS-licensed electrician and/or a licensed plumber inspect your utilities services before you can have them restored.

Obtaining Permission to Reoccupy Your Building:

You must submit a certified report by a NYS licensed professional engineer or registered architect certifying the following:

  • There is no standing water in the building;
  • The building is structurally sound;
  • All required life safety systems, including but not limited to, fire alarms, sprinklers, standpipes, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, are intact and in good working order;
  • If there is an elevator, at least one working elevator serves all floors; and
  • The building is otherwise safe to occupy.
  • The building has electrical power or a working emergency generator to power all required life safety systems.

All submissions including certified reports can be sent via email to reoccupyzonea@buildings.nyc.gov or to one of the Department Borough Offices. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov or call 311.

Restoring Power to Your Home

If any electrical wiring, receptacles, or equipment were submerged in water during the storm, you must hire a licensed electrician to inspect the equipment prior to returning it to service.

  • If the utility company has determined that your property has sustained damage to the electrical system and will not restore power to your property, you need to hire a licensed electrician to inspect your building’s electrical system.
  • If your electrician determines there was no damage, he/she must submit a letter to your utility company certifying that everything is okay in order to have your power restored. Upon receipt of this letter, your utility company will turn the power back on.
  • If your electrician determines there was damage, he/she must make the necessary repairs and submit a letter to your utility company certifying there was damage and the necessary repairs were made to have your power restored. Upon receipt of this letter, your utility company will turn the power back on. Your electrician must also file the necessary paperwork with the Department within 2 days after completing the repairs.

Note: In most cases, any electrical wiring that came into contact with salt water will be required to be removed and replaced. A licensed electrician may be able to disconnect the affected wiring branches to permit equipment in the rest of the building to be returned to service.

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  • bareheadedwoman

    friggin’ ridiculous. i’ve never seen a hurricane clean up run so ass backward in my life. And I’ve lived through 10 or more and counting. Mayor Mike and Gov Cuomo might would be better served to ask the states who know how to do this, how to do this. FAIL FAIL FAIL.

    • levp

      You do know that Con Edison is a private enterprise, right? “They built it!!”
      <insert the rest of the sarcasm here>

    • http://kibblesbits.wordpress.com/ Ann

      What is ridiculous about making sure a home is safe before running power to it?

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  • Ozzy

    Complete BS. Coned is covering themselves well….People should have enough common since to turn off the circuit breakers and turn then on one by one once power is restored in a DRY basement…fuckin’ communism

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

      People don’t always have common sense,

    • http://kibblesbits.wordpress.com/ Ann

      Honestly, I don’t think I would know that. I never had to deal with anything like that before. What the heck does communism have to do with it, anyways?

    • http://kibblesbits.wordpress.com/ Ann

      Furthermore, your comment doesn’t address dealing with damage, just ‘turn it on one at a time’. That’s really not enough, is it?

  • smith

    Con friggin Ed send an electricians to every house on our block, to unplug us from the main line, since they were at every doorstep, couldn’t they check if the house save to get power back? instead of punishing ppl who already suffer, to pay for licensed electrician to come

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  • Natali

    A rep from Congressman Nelson is speaking with Con Edison to offer other alternatives. When I spoke with Con Ed they said I can’t get my power on until everyone on my block gets certified and yet they don’t offer a coordinated solution. The way Con Ed is presenting this, it would take weeks probably for us to get power. I have neighbors with now internet who do not even know they have to do this. Mary from Nelson’s office has been amazing to come up with solutions so we can get our power a lot quicker vs. Con Ed’s sort of open ended date of when it may happen.

  • Pat

    I live in Staten Island but I grew up in Sheepshead Bay. My mom is still there and waiting for her power to return. Today I called Eyewitness News to inform them of the shaft that Sheepshead Bay is getting by Con Ed. I told them that there is NO communication from Con Ed, i.e, how are people who are literally “in the dark” supposed to know that they are required to hire an electrician before their power can get turned on. This is a joke. Con Ed should be doing the inspections! They said they would look into it. Pressure from the media is the only way to get Con Ed to move. Please call Eyewitness News at (212) 456-7000. The more people that call in and complain, the better.
    I also called Helen Weinstein’s office, and the man who I spoke to told me “Con Ed is doing a great job. Why don’t you and your neighbors hire one electrician and give him the business?” Are you kidding me??? I told him Con Ed is doing a crappy job and not to defend them!! I also told him that people have already suffered enough and shelled out enough money for this disaster. They shouldn’t have to pay for an electrician too. Everyone else got their power turned on with no other requirements. What nerve! You can call her office too. (718) 648-4700. Good Luck everyone

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