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Still No Power For Thousands In NYC

About 12,000 to 16,000 people entered their second week without electricity in the New York City on Monday, a large improvement over the 100,000 affected during the height of the power outage.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a briefing that between 3,000 to 4,000 customers in the city's Queens borough remained without electricity on Monday morning. A customer can represent anything from a single-family home to an entire apartment building, roughly translated to four individuals per customer.

Bloomberg said the utility Consolidated Edison expected to make "big progress today."

Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Bruno said Con Edison is "doing a good job," and he encouraged residents to support workers and say "hello" to them.

Others are tired of waiting and worrying, says WCBS-TV reporter Dana Lowey. One local legislator wants Con Ed CEO Kevin Burke to resign.

"When the lights went out, that was just the tip of the iceberg," City Councilman Eric Gioia said. "Since then, Con Ed has misled the public about the severity of the situation, failed to grasp that we are in a crisis and shown no plan to put the power back on and ensure the health and safety of people in Queens."

Asked to respond to the criticism later Sunday, Burke said, "I am now focused exclusively on restoration."

Burke said the causes of the blackout would be investigated later.

When a group of Queens political leaders urged Governor George Pataki Sunday to designate the zone without power a disaster area, making it eligible for federal aid, a spokeswoman for the governor said the utility should be financially responsible.

"We believe that it is (Con Edison) that should make restitution to those who have suffered," said spokeswoman Joanna Rose, who said the governor had spoken with Bloomberg and had offered any assistance necessary.

Rep. Joe Crowley argued Pataki should make the designation. "If this were an area of 100,000 people in upstate New York, the governor would have declared it a disaster area," he said.

Bloomberg said the focus for now should be on getting the power back rather than Con Ed diverting resources to figure out what happened. That should be left for later, he said, adding, "Whether it was something that could have been prevented, I have no idea."

He said Con Ed promised a report within two weeks.

"Are we satisfied with the progress?" he asked. "It is what it is."

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