Brighton Beach was hit as hard as any other coastal community ravaged by Superstorm Sandy and local residents are still feeling the effects of its destruction in the form of expensive electric bills, according to a report by CBS NY.
Since Sandy came ashore late last October, amazingly, many residents of Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay and elsewhere are still without heat. To stay warm in these harsh winter months, people have substituted working heat with electric space heaters, many of which were given out by Red Cross, FEMA and other disaster support groups.
As a consequence, their electric bills have skyrocketed, punishing the pocket books of people just trying to stay warm.
CBS NY tracked the plight of the residents of 601 Brightwater Court. After Sandy, the heat was knocked out of the building and the city distributed electric space heaters to keep elderly couples like Pavel Gertsman and his wife warm.
While the heaters were welcome, the increased electric bills topping out at an extra $150 a month, were not. Their plight was relayed through Brighton Beach Business Improvement District Executive Director Yelena Makhnin:
“They’re on a fixed income with $1,100 family, and the difference in $150, it makes those people choose between food and Con Edison bills,” Makhnin said.
She said the Gertsmans have health problems and cannot afford the huge bill.
Con Ed spokesman Bob McGee said the utility is forbidden by law from reducing the Gertsman’s bill.
For his part, McGee suggested that people unable to pay their bills as a result of Sandy could try reaching out to non-profit organizations like the Red Cross.
Other options include contacting the city’s Human Resources Administration, which has federally funded home energy assistance programs. You can visit their website by clicking the link above or call them at (800) 692-0557.