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Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath - Roosevelt Island's Octagon Building Still Without Power, When Will It Be Back On Residents Ask?

Image Of Powerless Octagon Building During Hurricane Sandy From Olivia Rios

Roosevelt Island resident Mark Lyon captures the moment power and lights went out during Hurricane Sandy last Monday October 31 at the Octagon Building which is equipped with a state-of-the-art hydrogen/oxygen/natural gas fuel cell.


You Tube Video of Roosevelt Island Hurricane Sandy Time Lapse

In an email dated at approximately 1 AM this morning, Octagon Building management reported to residents:
UPDATE - I SPOKE THIS EVENING, TO THE SUPERVISOR WORKING ON RESTORING THE POWER HE ADVISED THAT WE ARE STILL IN LINE TO HAVE POWER RESTORED IN 24 AT THE WORST 36 HOURS- HE REQESTED WE CONFIRM THAT OUR MECHANICAL SYSTEMS HAD NO FLOODING THE ELECTRICIAN WHO WORKED ON REROUTING POWER TO THE HOT WATER VERIFIED THAT OUR EQUIPMENT DID NOT HAVE ANY WATER. THIS WAS NEEDED SO THAT WHEN THE POWER IS TURNED BACK ON THERE WILL BE NO PROBLEM. I WILL GIVE THE SUPERVISOR A CALL AGAIN AT 9:00 A.M. IF THE POWER IS NOT BACK ON TONIGHT. I 'M SURE IT WAS DISCOURAGING TO SEE LIGHTS ON THE TENNIS COURT, THESE LIGHTS ARE NOT CONNECTED TO THE FEED WE WERE CONNECTED TO. ALSO, THE ARMY CORP OF ENGINEERS HAS BROUGHT GENERATORS TO THE HOSPITAL AND FOR A BRIEF MOMENT TONIGHT THEY HAD POWER. WHEN I LEFT IT WAS DARK AGAIN. I WILL UPDATE YOU WHEN I SPEAK TO THE SUPERVISOR IN THE MORNING. THANK YOU!
On October 31, I received this and many other similar comments from Octagon residents:
...things are not good at the Octagon, I finally had to leave the building. I couldn't take it any longer. It got cold last night and my floor is starting to smell. People are camping out in the lobby where the manager Barbara is also manning her command center. Everyone is on edge, the doormen have been working nonstop as well as Barbara. I have not heard that about the fuel cell. That is news to me....

... When I left this afternoon they finally got a charging strip for people to power cell phones and computers. I think the water also is back working but no hot water...
Also, Octagon resident Jeffrey Escobar added on October 31:
The water surge devastated our building's lower floors, flooding our 1st floor with four feet of water. We lost power at the height of the surge at 8 or so and have had no power since. A major tree was uprooted and knocked over, ripped at the roots. Because of the flooding, the daycare center is closed indefinitely, putting some 40 or 50 families or so with no childcare. We also have no hot water due to the failure of the pump that rises the hot water to the upper floors.

The backup generator is running, with moderate lights. People are keeping their doors open to use the hallway emergency lights to provide some lighting into the apartments.

Unsure what happened with fuel cell, but I doubt it is bc it was not connected prior to the hurricane. Work had been completed a year ago.

It is a bit abysmal, but we are plugging along.
Another Octagon resident adds on November 1:
The Octagon power blew out after the Coler hospital basement flooded. There was a burning smell coming from the hospital after an explosion. Coler's emergency generator went on for about an hour before it too was flooded and blew out.

Octagon's power was attached to the hospital. The Army Corp of Engineers was at Coler pumping water out of the basement Tuesday. They have relocated over 90 patients to Goldwater and other places and contained a ward with emergency power. Damage at Coler will take many days to repair.

ConEd has now disconnected the Octagon's power from Coler and we will likely have power by Thursday. In the meantime, we have warm water as of Wed. evening, gas stoves and mgmt is supplying ice, ironing boards & iron stations and charging stations for phones and computers. Mgmt set up temporary WIFI in the lobby on Wednesday.

 Image From Judy Berdy

Boilers are run by computer and two of the ten boilers have been manually turned on. Without the computers, there are no readings on the interior pressure so this had to be done slowly. Despite sandbags 4' high around doors, diligent mopping and water removal by staff, water overwhelmed all and the basement storage units, nursery school and other spaces on the basement level flooded about 6 inches. It was removed by the next day.

One large tree went down on the west side of the Octagon, near the barbq area and one large tree on the NE tennis court fence. One large tree was also uprooted in the water treatment fenced area.

Image Of Uprooted Octagon Tree From Oliva Rios

Octagon held a Halloween party for our kids prior to trick or treat and many residents socialized at the party and around the charging stations. Many residents have decorated with candles and leave the door open to let in the emergency hall lighting. It feels somewhat romantic here.
And just received this message from another Octagon resident minutes ago:
Does anyone know ANYTHING about restoring power to the Octagon??? The so called "24HOURS" they estimated yesterday have come and gone..... How long does it take to create the 'separate feed'????? [my angst is NOT against Barbara I TRULY believe she is doing the best she can given the spot she isn. But I can't help but believe that this is YET another example of INSUFFICIENT AND LACK OF Service Maintenance Agreements as well as Emergency Response Coverage not ASSURED by PRC for the advanced electrical equipment powering our residences. In short and simply put its negligence on part of the management company!!!!
I have asked Octagon building management for comment but have yet to receive a reply.

UPDATE 5:05 PM - Assembly Member Micah Kellner informs me that he just spoke with Con Ed and Octagon representatives. A special Con Ed team is on its way to the Octagon to assess the power situation at the building.

UPDATE 7:30 PM - Octagon Building managent sent out the following message to residents at approximately 6 PM this evening.
I APOLOGIZE FOR NOT BEING ABLE TO UPDATE YOU BEFORE NOW BUT I HAD NO INFORMATION TO PROVIDE UNTIL NOW. CON EDISON STATES THAT THEY PUT THE POWER ON, BUT WE DO NOT HAVE POWER TO THE BUILDING,THEY REQUESTED THAT OUR ELECTRICIANS CONFIRM THAT THERE IS NO POWER TO THE TRANSFORMER, OUR ELECTRICAN JUST LEFT AND HAS CONFIRMED WITH THEM THAT THERE IS NO POWER. CON ED IS DISPATCHING A CREW TODAY TO CHECK THEIR EQUIPMENT, THEY COULD NOT GIVE ME A TIME. IF THEY ADVISE ME OF A TIME I WILL LET YOU KNOW. THANK YOU.

21 comments :

Fabianni Andrea Builes said...

THIS IS INSANE!!!!!


What is going on with Power Restoration at the OCTAGON??????


Where is the communication break down????? And honestly where are the folks who manage the sub-metering????


It's NOT the lack of electricity that infuriates me... its the LACK of on-site accountability from the vendors responsible.



Leaving the Building Manager to deal with this situation and the angry residents is a MAJOR COP OUT!!!

Frank Farance said...

It sounds like Assemblymember Kellner has the ear of Con Ed, so my suggestion is for Mr. Kellner to keep pushing Con Ed (who will talk to the crews directly). Although your building is a large customer, the route of your representative (the building manager) contacting Con Ed might not have the same pull as Mr. Kellner's complaining. Mr. Kellner is probably better equipped than other State legislators for interacting with power electric utilities.


Afterwards, you can discuss how this would get done better next time. RIOC used to convene quarterly meetings on emergency planning with the building managers. Matt Katz and I would represent RIRA, and Howard Polivy would represent RI CERT. The committee was chaired by PSD Director Guerra. Mr. Katz and I have requested several times that Mr. Guerra call a meeting, but it has been over a year now, maybe two years. We really need to have these quarterly meetings to talk about these kinds of problems/contingencies.

CheshireKitty said...

Once the power comes back on, Octagon building owner has a lot of explaining to do.

Anonymous said...

The "building owner" has just as much interest as the residents in having power restored. The building staff and management have gone above and beyond to make the best of this week for us.

MLMFM said...

7am: Coller has power Con Ed trucks are gone, Octagon = Still no power or hot water.

Anonymous said...

So will the "building owner" step out from behind the curtain? What, are you afraid to face the tenants? Fraud.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone please keep me posted? I left the building and I have not yet received an email after last night tellin if the power is on or not. :/ Please let me know, thank you!

Anonymous said...

No power but three ConEd trucks there now

Anonymous said...

Thank you, I'll keep checking this website!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have an update?

Anonymous said...

Power just turned on!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh I hope that isnt a joke :)

Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell me how bad was the Goldwater Nursing home during and after Sandy? Did they lose power, for how long? My sister is being "taken care of" in that nursing home, she is brain dead, but I haven't had the chance to get over there. Tomorrow Tuesday I will, but before so I want to know how bad was it for the hospital. Please someone answer me facts about the chaos. Thank you.

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