Storm information from area utilities

September 5, 2008 2:14:54 PM PDT
Storm-related information from area utilities: PSE&G

Utility has all available personnel on hand to restore service should inclement weather result in outages

Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G) is prepared for the remnants of Tropical Storm Hanna, a storm system that could bring strong winds and heavy rain to New Jersey this weekend. PSE&G has all available personnel scheduled throughout the weekend to quickly respond and restore service should the inclement weather result in outages.

PSE&G is monitoring weather forecasts and will dispatch crews according to the severity of the storm. Additional supplies, such as poles and pole top equipment, are available to aid restoration efforts.

A storm like the one predicted to affect our area has the potential to interrupt service. High winds might cause trees to brush up against power lines and lightning could strike trees or pole top equipment.

Typically, power is restored to the largest numbers of customers first, taking into account facilities that provide key public health and safety services such as hospitals, police stations and water and sewer plants. Customers are asked to be patient. Our crews will work as fast as safety allows. Before neighborhood lines can be worked on, our crews must first repair larger lines that bring power to neighborhoods.

Customers without power or who are aware of downed power wires should call 1-800-436-PSEG. It is important to stay away from downed power lines, as they could be energized and dangerous.

Customer reports of outages help PSE&G determine the scope of the problem and dispatch crews more effectively.

PSE&G urges customers to take the following precautions in the event of power outages:

  • Charge your cell phone before the storm - and anything else that needs to be charged.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Food will stay frozen between 36 and 48 hours in a full loaded freezer (24 hours in a half-full freezer) if the door is closed. Throw a heavy blanket over the refrigerator and freezer for extra insulation.
  • Turn off lights and appliances to avoid overloading home circuits once power is restored. Leave one light "on" so that you will know when power has been restored. Unplug sensitive appliances (computers, VCR/DVD's microwaves, etc.) to avoid damage from voltage fluctuations.
  • Don't attempt to repair the electrical system or pull tree limbs off lines. PSE&G crews are specially trained to perform this potentially dangerous work.
  • Stay clear of areas with a lot of debris or downed trees because it could conceal an energized power line. Also stay clear of chain link fences which may be energized if touching a downed line.
  • If you have an electric generator, please ensure that you have isolated your home or business from the utility electrical service lines by opening main breakers or other devices. Do not connect portable generators to your household electrical wiring. This can cause serious injury to you and to PSE&G employees working on the lines in your neighborhood. Connect only essential appliances - such as freezers and refrigerators ? directly to the generator.
  • If your power is off, turn off large appliances and air conditioners and wait 10 to 15 minutes after power has been restored before turning them back on.
  • If there is damage to your meter or the line leading into the meter, you must first have an electrician make repairs before we can restore your service.
  • If there is flooding in your home or business, we may be unable to restore electric service until the building is inspected by local officials.
  • Stay off the roads, if possible, if there have been high winds and tree damage. This will allow law enforcement and utilities to manage traffic and clear roadways.
  • Use battery operated radios to receive up-to-date information.
  • Use flashlights when possible. If you are using candles, exercise extreme caution ? do not leave candles unattended and do not place near flammable materials (papers, curtains, etc.).
  • Do not use charcoal or gas grills indoors. Both can cause a build-up of deadly carbon monoxide gas.

    If your basement is flooded:

  • Water in the basement can put out the pilot light in a furnace or hot water heater. If water reaches the height of the gas burner on your water heater or gas heater, shut off the supply of gas to the unit if you know how.
  • Otherwise, call PSE&G to turn off the gas. PSE&G must turn the gas supply back on.
  • If you lose electricity and your basement is flooded, call PSE&G. Do not go into a flooded basement if energized wires are present.

    If you smell gas:

  • Put out all open flames. Don't light matches or lighters, and don't attempt to light any appliances.
  • Don't touch electric switches, thermostats or appliance controls. They can cause sparks.
  • Open windows and outside doors for ventilation.
  • If the odor is strong, don't stop to use your telephone or cell phone. Leave the building immediately and go to a safe nearby area until PSE&G arrives.

    CON ED

    With a forecast of heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 30 miles per hour this weekend, Con Edison is preparing to mobilize extra crews throughout New York City and Westchester County to respond to any power outages that might occur.

    The expected high winds and heavy rain could take their toll on trees, causing them to topple into power lines resulting in power outages. In addition, extensive flooding from rising levels of seawater can damage underground electrical equipment in low-lying areas, which could cause customers to lose electricity.

    Additional repair crews and call center personnel will be available to respond quickly to any outages and service problems that arise.

    The company urges customers to report power interruptions or service problems online at, or by calling Con Edison's toll-free customer service number 1-800-75-CON ED (1-800-752-6633).

    When reporting an outage, customers should have their Con Edison account number available, if possible, and report whether their neighbors also have lost power. Customers can also obtain restoration time and view outage maps online at

    In the event of severe outages, primary distribution feeders will be restored first, with the highest priority given to lines that supply the most customers remaining out of service. Next, crews will restore secondary facilities, such as transformers and secondary cables, with highest priority given to lines supplying the most customers. Individual services and lines serving single home will be restored as crews become available.

    Con Edison offers the following storm tips:

    If you see downed electrical wires, do not go near them. Treat all downed wires as if they are live. Never attempt to move or touch them with any object. Be mindful that downed wires can be hidden from view by tree limbs, leaves, or water.

    Report all downed wires to Con Edison and your local police department immediately. If a power line falls on your car while you're in it, stay inside the vehicle and wait for emergency personnel.

    Exercise extreme caution when entering flooded basements. Rising water that comes into contact with energized electrical equipment can create hazardous conditions that present a risk of serious injury.

    If your power goes out, turn off all lights and appliances to prevent overloaded circuits when power is restored. Leave at least one light switch in the on position to alert you when power has been restored.

    Check to make sure your flashlights and any battery-operated radios or televisions are in working order. Use candles and oil lamps with care. Also, make sure you have a supply of extra batteries. Weather updates and news about electric service restoration can be heard on most local radio and television stations.

    Avoid opening your freezer to see if food is still frozen. Every time you open the door, room-temperature air enters and speeds the thawing process. Most fully loaded freezers will keep food frozen for approximately 36 to 48 hours; half-full freezers will keep food frozen for approximately 24 hours.

    Since cordless phones rely on power charges to operate, customers should consider maintaining at least one corded, or landline, phone at all times.

    The company will maintain close contact with the New York City Office of Emergency Management and the Westchester County Department of Emergency Services to coordinate a response to effects of the storm.

    (Orange & Rockland Counties in NY; and part of Bergen County NJ)

    Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. placed its workforce on Storm Watch today and finalized preparations to perform emergency repairs if needed to restore electric service that could be interrupted by severe weather conditions created by the "Hanna" storm system as it advances up the Atlantic seaboard today. Extra crews are being scheduled for the weekend, and that response will be ramped up proportionally to meet the intensity of storm damage. If need be, O&R has plans that can deploy all of its electric linemen crews into the field. Additional crews composed of gas department crews, who have been cross-trained in line repairs, and O&R tree-trimming, contractor-crews, who have been similarly trained, have been alerted for possible duty.

    Additional Customer Service representatives have been scheduled to work to deal with the expected increase in customer telephone calls a storm situation generates. That staffing can also be increased it the situation calls for it.

    And, O&R directors and managers of other key departments have ordered members of their organizations to prepare to work through the weekend, if necessary, in storm-related capacities that support the field operations efforts.

    O&R's trucks are getting a last minute inspection. The Company's warehouse is beefing up its supplies of poles, wire and line hardware and is preparing equipment kits for linemen crews from other companies to use if those crews are needed.

    O&R's Public Affairs Department also is preparing the O&R Community Response Team (CRT) for activation and deployment in the field if needed. Those O&R employees, who have been cross-trained especially for this work, would proceed to local municipal halls or emergency services centers to act as liaison between communities and the Company, if requested.

    (Long Island)

    CT Light & Power

    What CL&P does before a storm arrives:

    CL&P continuously monitors weather activity for signs of any potential problems. As soon as it is evident a major storm is approaching, CL&P administrative and field personnel are alerted to prepare support staffing and crews for emergency duty. Other steps taken include:

    Activating the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at CL&P headquarters in Berlin, Conn., to coordinate overall operations. Informing customers through the news media of steps we are taking and providing advice as to how customers can prepare for outages.

    Activating emergency procedures at all regional system operation centers and establishing safety and damage assessment patrols and repair satellites in the regions.

    Checking supplies (poles, transformers, wire, etc.) and deploying them where needed and making arrangements for procurement of additional material if appropriate.

    Fueling and loading all company service and repair vehicles with equipment and supplies. Notifying state officials of situation and plans; and arranging for CL&P staffing at the State Emergency Operations Center in Hartford, if it is activated.

    Making arrangements with outside utility companies to provide backup crews if they are available.

    Initiating plans to house and feed personnel involved in restoration.

    More than eighty percent of our employees are trained yearly to assume storm assignments in addition to their regular duties. An accountant, for example, may serve on a "wires down" team during a storm, keeping people away from dangerous downed wires. An attorney may serve on the food and lodging team, making arrangements for personnel involved in around-the-clock restoration efforts, for example.

    What CL&P does after a storm hits:

    Our first priority is the safety of our employees and our customers. Immediately after a major storm, workers patrol to locate dangerous areas and take steps to make them safe by de-energizing downed wires. The next step is to restore power to substations and priority customers.

    We determine the extent of outages and damages, primarily by CL&P patrols and civil authorities, and make a preliminary assessment of the time and resources necessary to restore power to most customers.

    Priority customers are restored first and include police and fire units, hospitals, water and sewage treatment plants, and nursing homes. We keep state, civil and military authorities apprised of conditions, as appropriate, and work with municipal officials to address their particular concerns.

    CL&P employs hundreds of crews and will add hundreds of employees from other functions to work on restoration during a severe storm. They fan out over thousands of square miles of roads, many of which may initially be blocked, to cut limbs, remove trees, replace poles, and restore wires. They work extended hours to ensure that the entire system is made safe and your power is restored in a timely manner. In all cases, common sense dictates our crews' working schedules.

    While crews are working in the field, hundreds of CL&P employees are answering phone calls from customers around the clock, working extended hours to collect outage reports, relay orders, and advising the media and customers of what they can expect, based on the information available at the time.

    Restoration speed depends on the extent and nature of the storm's damage, but often, problems arise that can delay repair work. After a major storm, often thousands of streets are without power, and restoration is a time-consuming job for our workers. It takes hours to replace a single broken pole before downed wires can be put back in service. Traffic tie-ups and trees across roads often delay crews from reaching their destination.

    The bottom line is CL&P works around the clock until the last customer is restored.

    NYSEG Storm Prep Link:

    NYSEG serves parts of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess and Sullivan Counties in NY

    JCPL Outage Link:

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