Day 8: Thousands still waiting for power

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - In Irene's aftermath, the president is offering support. Federal Assistance has been granted for state and local governments.

The declaration makes FEMA's public assistance program available to cover government and certain nonprofit costs for damage. Richmond, Hopewell, and New Kent County are all eligible for the state aid.

Meanwhile, thousands are still without power as of Saturday evening. On day eight after Irene, Dominion Virginia Power continues to work into the night and through the weekend to bring power back.

But at this point, many people say they are tired, frustrated, and any wait is too long.  One example is in Meadowbrook Estates in Chesterfield County.

Dominion Crews have descended on the area, but for Joetta Robinson, not even crews across the street give her promise.

"I'm not hopeful," said Robinson. "I am pretty darn upset because I've called a lot of people and I've emailed a lot of people and it's like I'm not being heard."

Robinson says the crews can't return the hundreds of dollars she's lost in spoiled food and they definitely can't warm those cold showers she's taken all week.

"I've just lost my patience with them," Robinson told NBC12. "And I'm tired of people smiling and telling me it's gonna be ok. Well, it's not ok."

Her neighborhood won't be in the "most" category of customers with restored power.

"It wasn't just one pole that they thought to begin with. The devastation went on and on," explained Cathy Witherspoon, a neighbor.

Saturday night, the wait continues.

"Last night I only slept like 3 hours, because it's so hot. It's pretty bad," said Cathy's son, Robert.

Dominion Crews say they'll keep working and that the pockets of damage now are the most severe.

"It takes a long time to place new poles, string new wires, take new transformers… all the things that it takes to get electricity back on safely for people," explained Chet Wade, a Dominion Virginia Power spokesman. "So you're really in to a hand to hand combat level of restoration right now."

But for those still waiting, it's easy to feel powerless.

"I want you to hear that this is an ongoing problem and you cannot put a Band-Aid on it and then say, oh we've done such a great job. It's fixed," said Robinson, referring to any updates in response after Hurricane Isabel. "Because, obviously, 8 years later… it's not."

Dominion officials tell NBC 12 they don't want to give a specific day and time when the last customer will see power, because they can't be certain when thaw twill be. Still, they say they'll keep working until that time comes.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.