May 06, 2016 13:01 UTC

Audio / Technology Report

Power Still Out For Many in New York City

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Volunteers knock on doors to provide food and supplies to residents who continue to live without power Volunteers knock on doors to provide food and supplies to residents who continue to live without power
Volunteers knock on doors to provide food and supplies to residents who continue to live without power
Volunteers knock on doors to provide food and supplies to residents who continue to live without power


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From VOA Learning English, this is the TECHNOLOGY REPORT in Special English.

Hundreds of thousands of people were without electricity last week in the northeastern United States. They lost power when Superstorm Sandy hit the area in late October. Last week, another storm brought more high winds and dropped snow on the already troubled New York City area.

Officials are blaming Sandy for more than one hundred deaths and more than fifty billion dollars in property damage. The storm left about eight million people without power for days. This included nearly five million people in New York State and New Jersey.

Sandy flooded parts of New York City’s subway system and affected other transportation. It delayed movement of trucks carrying fuel to gasoline stations, resulting in long lines at gas pumps.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke about the problems at a press conference last week.

“Many of the gas stations, especially in Nassau, there’s gasoline in the tank in the ground but there’s no power to run the pump. And that’s been the problem.”

Governor Cuomo said Superstorm Sandy has exposed problems with New York’s infrastructure.

“These systems are the circulatory systems of the region. And you stop the circulatory system, and you paralyze the region.”

He said the failure of the city’s public utility system is of real concern.

“The utility system we have was designed at a different time for a different place. I believe the system is archaic and is obsolete in many ways.”

The storm has led to calls for power companies to bury more electrical lines underground. But, at least one expert says similar efforts did not help New York. Otto Lynch is vice president of Power Line Systems in Wisconsin.

“The reason many people in New York are out of power is because it was underground and when the water came onshore, water and electricity don’t mix. And they’ve got problems and it takes forever to find the problems. And when you do find the problems, it’s not just a quick fix. You have to dig. You have to work. Out of sight, out of mind is great until there’s a problem.”

Otto Lynch says a bigger national problem has to do with electrical distribution poles. He says the current poles do not have to meet industry weather requirements. And he says the ones in New York did not.

“The structures aren’t designed for the ninety-mile per hour winds that occurred and there were a lot of distribution failures.”

Mr. Lynch is a member of the America’s Infrastructure Committee at the American Society of Civil Engineers. The group produced its last report on the nation’s infrastructure in two thousand nine.

“The two thousand nine grade for energy was a D+. That’s actually better than most of the rest of the infrastructure. The average grade for all of America’s infrastructure was a D.” 
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Comment Sorting
by: Mee from: Thailand
11/26/2012 3:50 AM
Bless you.

by: con
11/25/2012 12:57 PM
first visit and first comment in this website.

by: Vo Van Sim from: Viet Nam
11/20/2012 3:32 PM
I can't believe in the geat country with high standard as American have bad infrastructure. It is familiar in Vietnam.

by: saud from: saudi arabia
11/16/2012 6:56 PM
I hope to solve this problem in very short time

by: Mahmoud Dahroug from: Portsaid, Egypt
11/15/2012 11:26 AM
It is unbelievable that a great country like the US doesn't have a suitable and up-to-date infra-structure!

It looks like it is a global phenomena that we think after the crisis not before it happens!

by: wendi from: indonesia
11/15/2012 4:31 AM
most importantly is discontinue smoke sell

by: Shige from: Japan
11/14/2012 5:03 AM
There is possibility that same incident like this article will occur in Japan. So, we should prepare to tackle the disaster, and review our utility system.

by: ssalma from: Seoul, Korea
11/13/2012 10:34 AM
I hope everythings will be ok

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
11/13/2012 7:53 AM
We have learned from this superstorm Sandy that how much the function of contemporary cities depend on movement of people and energy supply. For reflection, we realized that urban areas are so fragile to natural disaster that we cannot do without transportation system and electricity. This time electrical distribution poles not meating industry weather requirements are blamed for power out of New York. Yet, no matter how highly raising the requirements, natural disasters would surpass them. How could we manage them? Should we stick around modern convenient urban life, or should we cut back on and get back of such a castle in the air?

by: Manda from: Japan
11/12/2012 11:33 PM
I had no idea that there is a problem described here for power lines underground.