In an effort to alleviate the long gas lines, police on Friday began enforcing a new alternating fuel ration system in New York City and Long Island. Drivers with license plates that end with a letter or an odd number can fill up Friday. Those with even numbers or zero can fill up Saturday, and so on.
Authorities cut off Shephard's electricity last Monday, along with thousands of others, as a precaution ahead of Sandy. But unlike other storm refugees now holed up in warmer places with family and friends, Shephard decided to stay put in her Far Rockaway home.
"You have to stay," she said. "If I leave, what would happen to my house when I got back?"
More than a week after floodwater rushed into her basement, destroyed her property and soaked her circuit box with salt water, there is still no clear sign of when power might be restored.
Meanwhile, the weather has been getting colder.
"It was freezing last night," she said.
Unfortunately, getting power back is not just matter of fixing substations and flipping a switch.
City officials say electricians are now needed for homes like Shephard's, whose house is flagged with a yellow sticker, so that electrical cabling and circuit boxes can be individually checked before the power grid is restored.
That means contractors must go door-to-door checking houses, adding to the time it takes for the power to return, while temperatures drop.
Just down the street are the charred remains of more than 100 homes destroyed in an inferno that raged in the coastal community of Breezy Point, making officials especially wary of the risk of electrical fires.
More than a half million households are still in the dark across New Jersey and New York, including nearly 40,000 homes on Rockaway Peninsula.
Without a clear timetable for restoration, the town is rife with speculation. And that effect has fueled mounting tension.
"I'm pissed, just like everybody else is," said Pat Lee, 55, an iron worker who normally commutes to Lower Manhattan but has been out of work since the storm hit.
"The biggest problem really ain't so much the electricity. It's that no one knows when we're going to get it. They won't even give you a ballpark figure," he said.
A Long Island Power Authority spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment regarding restoration of the Far Rockaway area. The utility's website indicates there is "a long road ahead."
LIPA has dispatched some 250 utility workers to the Rockaways, working 16-hour shifts in a round-the-clock operation to get power restored.
But soggy and salt-caked electrical panels and wiring in homes and businesses "could present unsafe conditions when re-energizing those areas or facilities, the utility says on its website.
Police are working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Guard to provide evacuation services and have set up heating areas for residents, while churches and aid groups hand out food and water.
A nonprofit called the Fuel Relief Fund donated the fuel, but its supplies are limited.
"Right now we have to clean up, so I don't know if this is the place to be for people right now," said New York Police Department Deputy Inspector Scott Olexa, who described the surrounding damage as "unparalleled."