bedfordWestchester continues to make progress toward returning to normalcy, despite Wednesday's storm, which added new challenges. County Executive Robert P. Astorino said again Thursday that the number of people without electricity remained unacceptably high. 

On a positive note, gas supplies are near normal.

As of 7 p.m. Thursday, Con Ed reported 23,096 customers without power and NYSEG about 89. While this is signficiantly less than at the peak of the storm, Astorino said it was still inadequate. He said the utilities must do more and quicker, particularly with the cold weather.

Astorino continues to stay in direct contact with top officials at Con Edison and NYSEG stressing the need to get Westchester back to full power.

"We are continuing to do everything we can to get power back and people's lives back to normal," Astorino said.

Since the storm began, Astorino has visited shelters, community centers, neighborhoods, village and town halls, businesses and restaurants in Bedford, Harrison, Yonkers, Rye, Cortlandt, Peekskill, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Castle, Scarsdale and North Castle --and will continue traveling across the county to ensure communities are getting the help they need.

Astorino has also visited with members of the 42nd Infantry Division of the New York Army National Guard at Camp Smith in Cortlandt to thank them for the assistance they have provided to Westchester. Guardsmen have been helping the road crews clean downed trees and other debris left in the wake of the hurricane.  After visiting a crowded diner on the Sound Shore, Astorino noted how impressed he was with the patience and generosity of Westchester residents as they pulled together throughout the storm. "This storm has brought the good out of so many people," he said. "Neighbors are helping neighbors. It goes to show how wonderful the people of Westchester County really are."

On a daily basis, the county EOC has conference calls with municipalities.

Earlier last week, Astorino said Ivey told him that Con Edison was bringing in crews – some by air – from as far away as California. He said Ivey also assured him that Con Edison was not diverting resources from Westchester to New York City.

Astorino said Ivey explained that the utility's response in New York City and Westchester were completely separate because the circumstances were so different: In New York City, Con Edison's main task is to restore a single transmission center that is underground and underwater. In Westchester, it is to handle 5,600 separate issues spread across the county that are above ground. The equipment and expertise needed are different in both cases. For example, New York City has no need for extra bucket trucks to repair utility poles because the city's lines are underground.

"In the clearest terms I was told that Con Edison was adding to its Westchester resources, not subtracting from them," Astorino said. "My job is to make sure Con Ed follows through on its assurances."

Astorino has offered Con Edison multiple properties around Westchester, including Rye Playland and Saxon Woods Park, as staging areas for equipment and supplies needed in the recovery effort.