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Long Island Power Authority chief resigns two weeks after Sandy

On Long Island in New York, more than 10,000 customers still don't have power, and the Long Island Power Administration is now the target of a class-action suit. NBC's Anne Thompson reports.

Long Island Power Authority

Michael Hervey, acting CEO of the Long Island Power Authority, announced his resignation Tuesday, two weeks after Sandy wiped out power to nearly 90 percent of the utility's customers.

Michael Hervey, head of the Long Island Power Authority, resigned Tuesday, two weeks after Superstorm Sandy hit the eastern seaboard and wiped out power to nearly 90 percent of the utility's customers.

More than 10,000 customers remained without power on Long Island on Tuesday.

Hervey, who had been with LIPA for 12 years, was chief operating officer and had been acting CEO for two years. His resignation is effective at the end of the year, according to a statement by LIPA Chairman Howard E. Steinberg.

The resignation comes on the heels of New York Gov. Cuomo's announcement of a special commission to investigate how the state’s power companies handled the storm and the nor’easter that hit a week later, The (New York) Daily News reported.

Cuomo has slammed all the power companies for how they responded to the storms but was particularly tough on LIPA, saying he would hold the utility accountable for its performance, the News reported.

"You can’t be any stronger or harsher than I have been on the utility companies," Cuomo said last week, according to Capital New York, saying he would hold them accountable for their slow performance.

"Privately, I have used language my daughters couldn’t hear, so they’ve gotten the message," Cuomo said, according to the site.

Power customers, too, were furious.

“We are sitting in a cold house. No one comes by,” John Mangin of Levittown, N.Y. told The Associated Press. “There should be criminal charges against the CEO and the executive board of LIPA for failure to do their jobs.”

Mangin joined some 300 people in protest outside LIPA's office in Hicksville, N.Y. They were protesting what they said was LIPA's lack of communication, according to the AP.

Elsewhere on Long Island, James Castellano, a father of a 2-day-old, told NBC New York that he could no longer afford to stay in Manhattan hotels, but that he worried about his newborn son being cold.

"You can't have an infant in the house freezing," Castellano said.

Hervey, who was both LIPA’s chief operating officer and the acting chief executive officer, said he had planned to step down before the storms hit, the Wall Street Journal reported 

In the statement, Steinberg said he accepted Hervey's resignation with regret.

Hervey joined LIPA in 2000, according to his executive biography, which applauds his storm preparation. “He has implemented storm hardening policies and capital expenditure programs, which have made LIPA the top most reliable overhead utility in the State,” the bio says.

During Sandy's immediate aftermath, LIPA said on its website that it had dedicated 12,000 workers to restoring power to its customers. About 8,000 of those workers were linemen and tree-trimming crews from around the country, including some who had been airlifted in by the National Guard.

Regardless, confidence in LIPA remains low – including on Wall Street, where a credit agency warned that LIPA’s credit rating could be downgraded for how it would handle the long-term costs of Sandy, Newsday reported.

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