Utility company apologizes for outages even as power begins to restore — but is it enough?

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HO-HO-KUS, N.J. — A week after the first of two Nor'easters slammed the tri-state region, electrical service is returning. However, it couldn't come fast enough for some people who've been without it for so long.

John Kolman-Mandle has had a cold, dark house since the first Nor'easter blew an 80-year-old tree at the bottom of his cul-de-sac onto power lines. It left his entire Briarcliff Manor neighborhood in the dark. Until 1 p.m. Friday afternoon.

"It actually works!" Kolman-Mandle exclaimed, as he flicked on a light switch in his home. "It's the first time in a week."

He and his neighbors had been complaining to Con Edison all week, because neither the utility company nor the Town of Briarcliff Manor would take responsibility for clearing the tree, in order for the power to come back on, according to residents.

After a weeklong standoff, Con Ed brought in tree removers that it had contracted from Indiana. They cut down the tree and cleared it off of power lines. That, in turn, enabled Con Ed crews to come in and restore power, finally, on Friday morning,

"I actually said to the repairman, 'Thank you,'" Kolman-Mandle told PIX11 News.

The feeling wasn't nearly as upbeat at the Westchester County Executive's Office. On Friday, County Executive George Latimer denounced Con Edison and New York State Electric and Gas, or NYSEG, which also provides electricity to Westchester County.

Earlier in the week, Latimer had called on the CEOs of the two utilities to resign.

On Friday morning, Con Edison CEO John McAvoy responded to the request, at a press briefing at the company's emergency response center.

Con Ed's mission, McAvoy said, is the "timely restoration" of all outages. "When we’re done with that, we’ll do a complete assessment of our performance," he said.

He also said that, with another winter storm possibly hitting our region next Monday, more than 2,000 utility workers were out restoring power. Of that number, about 600 are from outside of the New York region, providing mutual aid.

McAvoy told PIX11 News that Con Ed will continue to retain those outside workers through early next week, in case the storm strikes.

Meanwhile, as of Friday evening, the number of outages region-wide continues to decline, but the numbers are still significant.

In North Jersey, more than 120,000 customers were without electricity. That's about two percent of all customers. In New York City and Westchester County, approximately 19,000 customers are in the dark.

Utilities across the region have said they're trying to restore all power before the weekend is over, but they're also setting deadlines later than that, just in case. Some viewers in northwestern New Jersey told PIX11 News that they were notified by utility JCPL that their electricity would be back on by next Wednesday, at the latest.