About 350 homeless Superstorm Sandy evacuees who have been sleeping in New York City-funded hotel rooms for nearly a year may be forced to check out for good.
STRONGSVILLE, Ohio - UPDATE-11:00 a.m. 11/09/2012 :
Madonna Savage-Phillips reported back to Newschannel5 Thursday that the electrician for which she had paid for work on her service line from her roof to her FirstEnergy meter had returned after her complaints making good on the job that hadn't passed FirstEnergy's and Strongsville's city electrical inspections. Phillips said the repairs were now satisfactory, passing city inspection, and that power has finally been restored for her family.
"I'm most happy that my sump pump is now working and I don't have to bail out my basement anymore," said Phillips.
Friday morning I received a call from Rosie Bovenzi who lives around the corner from Phillips, stating that her mother, JoAnn Conte, also had her power restored early this morning. Being without power since October 29th, JoAnn had expressed that this was one her life's most stressful events, even outdoing the death of her husband. She will have her first night in her own bed this evening. Rosie said, "she's very relieved."
While Strongsville homeowner Madonna Savage-Phillips can see lights on in her neighbors' windows on all sides of her red brick ranch house, her power has to remain off. Her family is sleeping elsewhere; until she can have repairs done to her 60-year-old home's electrical equipment from her roof to her basement breaker panel.
Power crews found that, after removing her meter, an electrical fire was likely because of incomplete electrical repairs she had paid for after trees fell on the main power. She did not pass the most recent city inspection. Savage-Phillips and her family have had enough of the waiting since Superstorm Sandy's winds cut their power off.
"I've had to live at someone else's house, put them out. I've had to keep draining my sump pump because I don't want it to flood the basement. It's just been very tiring, very frustrating, extremely frustrating," said Phillips.
"I found out that I had people who I thought I had fixed everything in order to have the power company to reconnect me, only to find out that if they did, it would set my house on fire. I had spent money for these electricians to fix my house and it wasn't fixed," Phillips said.
The cost for repairs for Phillips was $950. She decided to stop any further repairs by that contractor, who pulled the correct permits and is licensed to work in Strongsville.
"I called the credit card company and they're in the middle of a dispute for me," Phillps said.
Less than two blocks away from Phillips' West 130th Street home was Rosie Bovenzi, who had been on the phone with FirstEnergy for almost an hour. Helping her 80 -ear-old mother Jo Ann Conte get her power restored is now simply a matter of patience.
In the same predicament as Phillips with expensive repairs, inspections and calls to cable and phone companies, Bovenzi had weathered getting her mother an impossible-to-find generator, moving food to her own home's refrigerator and finding sleeping arrangements for her family each night. But, they both finally see light at the end of the tunnel after repairs passed the city's inspection with a green sticker placed on her mother's electric meter.
"During the day, we're here on the generator then at night she comes to my house to sleep. I had the cable company here, the phone company here this morning, and I had the city inspector. The phone wires got hooked back up, but I've been on hold for 51 minutes with The Illuminating Company and I'm trying to get them to know that we got the green sticker and we can have them get out here to try to get the service back to the house so she can have power again," said Bovenzi.
By Wednesday evening power had not been restored to either home. Bovenzi said FirstEnergy gave no guarantees by phone, but did say as early as midnight Wednesday, or as late as Thursday crews should be there to help.
Bovenzi's mother JoAnn Conte has been praying every day hoping for her power to return. In her eighty years, she ranks this last week as one of the worst with which to deal.
"I'm 80 years old and if I didn't have my daughter and my son-in-law to help me, I would be in limbo," said Conte. "I ask God every day, please help me and I'll thank Him for the day that I'll do, to a warm bed and a warm house."
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