Electricians to the rescue in storm-savaged Gerritsen Beach, paid for by new relief fund

The electricians are coming.

Gerritsen Beach residents left in the dark after Superstorm Sandy will get free electric repairs starting Saturday so Con Ed can restore their power.

The technicians will be paid with money from the Brooklyn Recovery Fund, which borough businesses and charitable groups created for hurricane relief .

“We’re on a mission to get the lights on in every house in Gerritsen Beach,” said Jim Donovan, the pro bono construction manager for the electricians.

An estimated 700 households in his shorefront neighborhood need the free help to get the juice back on.
The Brooklyn Recovery Fund committed $85,000 to the project; the money is being administered by a neighborhood group, Gerritsen Beach Cares. Donovan also got a $10,000 grant through City Councilman Lew Fidler (D-Gerritsen Beach).

More than $1.5 million for the Brooklyn Recovery Fund was raised in just two weeks. The Brooklyn Community Foundation, Borough President’s office and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce established the fund - which has received contributions of $100,000 each from Forest City Ratner, the Brooklyn Nets, the he Barclays Center and the community foundation.

In Gerritsen Beach, 20 electricians will install panel boxes and circuit breakers at 50 high-priority homes Saturday — where elderly, disabled, single mothers or families with small children live.

Electrical equipment is in short supply; if Donovan can get more, repairs will be done at another 50 homes on Sunday.

Nearly all 2,500 homes in Gerritsen Beach lost power during the killer hurricane — and floodwaters ruined their electrical equipment.

Con Ed requires homeowners to have licensed electricians make repairs and certify their work before the utility will turn on the juice.

Finding qualified electricians with free time in their schedules is hard in storm-ravaged Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island neighborhoods. And some Gerritsen Beach residents are short on cash for electrical repairs — which cost $1,000 per household — because they haven’t yet seen a cent from insurers.

“A lot of us are waiting to even see an adjuster,” Donovan said.