The News article, "Verizon cut repair worker jobs before October snowstorm," was right about one thing -- the storm caused widespread damage that challenged all utilities. But it failed to provide readers with important background and facts.
Verizon employees worked around the clock for a month to restore service as quickly as possible. The incredible damage caused by the storm led to more than 90,000 repair jobs. The amount of work accomplished in the weeks following the storm normally would have taken three to six months.
The suggestion that Verizon didn't do all it could to restore service is insulting to the hundreds of employees who helped with repairs. That charge came from a union leader, which should have been treated with caution, rather than being embraced by The News.
A more credible source, such as the New York Public Service Commission, which closely monitors Verizon's service quality, noted that our commitment to service quality was clear.
The commission, which received daily reports on Verizon's efforts during the emergency and conducted an extensive on-the-ground assessment of the restoration, said that Verizon's communication in the wake of the storm was better than ever.
Whether there was a reduction of 16 technician jobs in the area this year is irrelevant, given that Verizon called in more than 400 technicians from neighboring areas to help in Western New York. In all, more than 700 technicians helped with restoration efforts.
Following standard safety rules, Verizon employees did not enter neighborhoods until after the electric company had made repairs to resolve dangerous power conditions. That took as long as two weeks.
In addition, Verizon's repair work involved a large percentage of individual home repair jobs, not entire swaths or grids that the power company is able to turn up. Lastly, Verizon appropriately does not distinguish by company or competitor what repair jobs are given priority.
Director of Operations, Verizon