Gabbaim at the main Skverer Bais Medrash in Shikun Skver gave Orange and Rockland Utilities Inc. a check today for $46,450 toward its unpaid bill nearly 30 hours after the utility shut off power for lack of payment.This afternoon’s payment means O&R will restore power to the Truman Avenue shul as village and utility officials work out a repayment plan, utility spokesman Michael Donovan said today.
The shul still owes $31,882 to O&R. The amount paid today represented the minimum payment for restoration of power, Donovan said.
“We will order the services restored,” Donovan said, adding the payment came at 2 p.m. “We will continue to talk to them about the remaining amount owed for services.”
Mispallelim at the main shul had been davening in the dark since Monday morning after O&R cut off power when bills were not paid.
O&R moved because the shul owed the utility $78,332 and payment negotiations have been ongoing for several months.
“We warned them this was going to happen,” Donovan said earlier today before the payment. “We just didn’t decide one day to cut of their power.”
New Square Deputy Mayor Yisroel Spitzer said earlier today that he and other community members were negotiating a payment plan with the utility to get power restored.
“I am confident O&R and the shul will reach an agreement and will get this resolved in a short time,” Spitzer said.
Spitzer said the community’s main shul has never before failed to pay its bills, adding that he and others were surprised the shul had fallen far into arrears. Spitzer said New Square always has had “a very, very strong relationship with the senior people at O&R and have always worked together.
After the shul’s power was cut off on Monday morning, residents hooked up cable lines from another building into the main shul, where the Skverer Rebbe, Rav Dovid Twersky, davens. The cable lines were removed early this afternoon, shortly before the payment was made.
Spitzer blamed the tough economic times cutting into the donations from supporters to pay for the utility costs.
“Donations are slow,” he said. “In these tough economic times people don’t have the money they had in the past.”
Spitzer said the lack of power has not stopped services.
“The tefillos and the learning are going on,” he said. “Nothing stops the tefillos and the learning.”