Southern Brooklyn

No Power? No Gas? City Requiring Inspections Before Services Resume

A red-tagged home in one of Emmons Avenue’s waterfront bungalow colonies.

It’s clear to anyone who has been paying attention that power restoration has drastically slowed down since the first few days following Hurricane Sandy. Part of that is because, as Con Edison turned on power, fires were breaking out throughout the neighborhood as energy surged into flooded circuit breakers or sparked gas leaks.

(UPDATE: Con Ed has released a “simplified” certification process to get power on quicker.)

For residents’ safety and the safety of first responders, the city is now requiring the homeowners get their electricity and gas systems inspected before they restore services. Department of Buildings inspectors are also making the rounds, tagging flooded homes in Zone A with stickers that indicate whether the home can be reoccupied. We’ve already seen several in the Plumb Beach bungalow colonies that have been deemed unusable.

Here’s the rundown of what the Department of Buildings is doing, and what you need to do before you can have power or gas restored:


Buildings affected by Hurricane Sandy may not be reoccupied without permission of the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB). DOB inspectors are placing green, yellow, or red stickers on buildings in flooded areas that indicate what you should to do safely reoccupy your home. If your building is tagged with a red sticker, it is not safe to enter.

If you receive a green or yellow sticker from DOB, you must have a NYS-licensed electrician and/or a licensed plumber inspect your utilities services before you can have them restored.

Obtaining Permission to Reoccupy Your Building:

You must submit a certified report by a NYS licensed professional engineer or registered architect certifying the following:

  • There is no standing water in the building;
  • The building is structurally sound;
  • All required life safety systems, including but not limited to, fire alarms, sprinklers, standpipes, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, are intact and in good working order;
  • If there is an elevator, at least one working elevator serves all floors; and
  • The building is otherwise safe to occupy.
  • The building has electrical power or a working emergency generator to power all required life safety systems.

All submissions including certified reports can be sent via email to [email protected] to one of the Department Borough Offices. For more information, visit or call 311.

Restoring Power to Your Home

If any electrical wiring, receptacles, or equipment were submerged in water during the storm, you must hire a licensed electrician to inspect the equipment prior to returning it to service.

  • If the utility company has determined that your property has sustained damage to the electrical system and will not restore power to your property, you need to hire a licensed electrician to inspect your building’s electrical system.
  • If your electrician determines there was no damage, he/she must submit a letter to your utility company certifying that everything is okay in order to have your power restored. Upon receipt of this letter, your utility company will turn the power back on.
  • If your electrician determines there was damage, he/she must make the necessary repairs and submit a letter to your utility company certifying there was damage and the necessary repairs were made to have your power restored. Upon receipt of this letter, your utility company will turn the power back on. Your electrician must also file the necessary paperwork with the Department within 2 days after completing the repairs.

Note: In most cases, any electrical wiring that came into contact with salt water will be required to be removed and replaced. A licensed electrician may be able to disconnect the affected wiring branches to permit equipment in the rest of the building to be returned to service.