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Local diner in the dark for eight days

The Avenue Diner was without power for eight days after the windstorm.

The cash register is humming again and Katherine Church is back to juggling plates at The Avenue Diner.

After eight days in the dark and a loss of thousands of dollars, they are among many businesses and streets wondering what took so long.

They said Rochester Gas and Electric could have been better prepared.

"The restaurant is losing money everyday," Katherine Church told 13WHAM News. "Probably near tens of thousands. Generally during crazy storms we are getting a lot of business and feeding more people."

Church said she is just happy to be back to work and her regulars agree.

For eight days, a sign on the door read "no electric power." The diner was in the dark, day after day, from the windstorm. She said she is disappointed with RG&E.

"It was kind of shocking that they would leave a whole street of residents without power for a whole week," Church added.

The Gillis family is known at the diner by name and order.

"We come here often and really enjoy the restaurant," James Gillis said.

They too believe RG&E was gravely unprepared for the storm.

"I think they should have been more on the ball and gotten to these people quicker," Gillis said. "It is a long time to be without power and it should not have happened."

Some said this is not a new problem. A commission in 2013 published a scathing report in response to Superstorm Sandy. It showed utilities, including RG&E and NYSEG, in the state were woefully unprepared for catastrophic storms.

Gillis said that is still the case.

"We have been through it before - the icestorm."

However, an audit released one month ago shows RG&E was adequately staffed.

RG&E's 2015 annual report shows they spent close to $28 million on tree maintenance, but with 150 downed poles during the windstorm, some are questioning if they did enough upkeep.

The governor is now calling for an investigation into Rochester Gas and Electric's preparedness and storm response time.

RG&E released a statement saying they welcome the governor's investigation and the company will respond to any public service commission's concerns.

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