$1,600 Utility Bill for Home Leveled During Hurricane Sandy


Kiernan Burke, a resident in the Queens borough of New York City, was charged $1,600 for electricity and gas usage over the past seven months, and he would dutifully pay his debt -- if his home had even existed in that time. The Burke family's home was destroyed in October 2012 by a fire that swallowed a swath of the Breezy Point neighborhood in Queens as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Their house -- which had been in the Burke family for four generations -- was one of 80 to 100 that burned to the ground and Sandy roared through.

Still, the Long Island Power Authority continued to bill the Burkes, NBC New York has reported. And here's the rub: The Burkes said that they believe LIPA is responsible for the fire that ravaged the neighborhood because the utility company never cut off power to the area during Sandy. Several Breezy Point families who lost their homes are suing LIPA for that reason.

"How on earth could they, with a straight face, not even have the common courtesy and the dignity to understand that certain addresses were wiped off the map by their negligence?" Kiernan Burke told NBC New York. "It's just the highest level of ineptitude. It's crazy." LIPA, however, said that the bills were based on estimated meter readings -- although no meter survived at the Burke's former residence or at any of the homes in Breezy Point that were destroyed.

Burke told NBC New York that although LIPA recently informed him that he won't have to pay the electricity bills, he worries about his credit as he tries to rebuild his life.

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