More than 500 Crews Repairing O&R Storm Damage

November 2, 2011

5:00 p.m. - More than 500 repair crews - the largest workforce ever fielded by O&R - are working throughout the O&R service area today to continue restoring electric service to the remaining 35,000 customers who are still without power as a result of last weekend’s pre-winter snowstorm.

Working around the clock since Saturday, O&R and its supplemental crews thus far have restored power to approximately 95,000 of the approximately 130,000 customers affected by the snowstorm.

The combination of fully-leafed trees and record breaking wet snowfall was both unprecedented and extremely destructive to the Company’s electric system. The snowstorm has caused outages to 10,000 more customers than the 120,000 who were affected by Hurricane Irene.

Today’s workforce consists of all 1,100 O&R employees, plus another 1,100 contractor and mutual aid personnel dedicated to restoring service, repairing lines, removing downed trees and maintaining public safety.
The crews came from as far away as Florida, Michigan and Maryland. O&R customers may not recognize them as Company workers, but the crews are working for O&R to restore service. In addition, many of the O&R damage assessors and crew leaders use their private vehicles to perform their work so they may not be readily recognizable as O&R employees.
The Company is projecting that 90 percent of the customers who lost electric service will be restored by midnight Thursday night, with the balance brought back to service through the weekend. The number of outages has continued to climb as damaged tree limbs have given way and contacted electric lines. Unlike any other storm that has affected O&R, workers face dozens of repairs just to restore service to one neighborhood. As restoration work continues, additional customers are taken out of service temporarily so that those without power can be safely restored.

Damage from this storm is far more significant than Hurricane Irene, previously the worst event to impact the Company, in terms of customers affected, widespread extent of system damage and volume of calls to O&R.

O&R mobilized its entire company workforce and contractors on Saturday in advance of the storm and has augmented it by hiring as many qualified personnel as were available. These additional resources began arriving Sunday and have continued through today.

The major outage figures at this hour are as follows:

Orange: 2,131
Bergen: 12,211
Sullivan: 26
Passaic: 1,269

As restoration work continues, here are some safety reminders:   
Downed wires pose a significant safety risk. Everyone should always assume downed power lines are energized and extremely dangerous. Keep a distance of at least 50 feet away from them and call O&R at 1-877-434-4100.

Do not try to use a gas oven or range to heat a room. The appliance will deplete oxygen from the air, resulting in possible carbon monoxide poisoning. For the same reason, don't use grills indoors.



O&R and Rockland Electric will distribute dry ice today from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the following locations:

Rockland County
Boulders Ball Field
Pomona Rd.
Pomona, NY

Orange County
CVS Pharmacy
123 Windermere Ave. (Route 210)
Greenwood Lake, NY

Bergen County
Office of Emergency Management
285 Campgaw Rd.
Mahwah, NJ