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LI utility chief operating officer stepping down

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) -- The chief operating officer of the Long Island utility company that has been heavily criticized for its response to Superstorm Sandy is stepping down.

The Long Island Power Authority announced Tuesday that Michael Hervey had tendered his resignation. It is effective at the end of the year. He has been with LIPA for 12 years.

LIPA has come under withering criticism after Sandy knocked out power to more than a million of its customers, both for how long it was taking to get power restored as well as poor communication with customers.

The company said 99 percent of those who can safely get power have it restored. But that figure doesn't include 35,000 customers who suffered flood damage and need repairs on their property before power can come back.