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O&R: Storm Cuts Power to Approximately 200,000

October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy has thus far knocked out power to approximately 200,000 of O&R’s 300,000 electric customers today.

Because of the devastating damage the hurricane has caused to O&R's electric transmission and distribution system, O&R will have to rebuild much of those systems.

Once the severe weather conditions have subsided, O&R will begin a systematic inspection, damage assessment, reconstruction and restoration process. While this massive effort is expected to take weeks to complete, we project that the majority of the customers will be restored to service within10 days. These projections are very preliminary and will be adjusted as the full extent of the damage is determined.

O&R crews had restored service today to about 4,000 electric customers before O&R suspended electric field work because the violent weather made it impossible for crews to work safely. O&R will return those crews to the field when the weather moderates enough to work safely.

O&R has mobilized and deployed all available company and contractor crews to repair storm damage and restore service. About 1,000 O&R employees were joined by about 800 contractor field workers today. More crews are expected to arrive through the week.

To help its customers prepare to weather a storm, O&R offers these tips:

  • For safety’s sake, don’t touch or approach any downed wire. Assume it is energized and dangerous. Call O&R immediately toll-free 1-877-434-4100. Depending on the situation, you may also want to call your local police to divert traffic until an O&R crew arrives.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 50 feet from downed wires and anything they are in contact with including puddles of water and fences. Supervise your children so that they are not in the vicinity and keep pets on a leash.
  • If a fallen wire is draped over a car, do not approach the car and make rescue attempts. Remain a safe distance away, and try to keep the occupant of the vehicle calm. If possible, emergency personnel should handle the situation.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food, bottled water, manual can opener, baby supplies and pet food. Set your refrigerator and freezer controls to their coldest settings. Fill the bathtub with water.
  • Have emergency equipment within reach — portable radio, flashlights, candles and matches, spare batteries, first aid kit, cell phone and important medications. Update your personal list of emergency phone numbers. Keep O&R’s toll-free number 1-877-434-4100 near the phone to report power outages.
  • If you experience a power outage, don’t assume that O&R automatically knows about it or that someone else will report it. To be sure the outage is reported, please call O&R toll-free at 1-877-434-4100 to let O&R know what happened. The more information you can provide, the more O&R can help you.
  • Remember, if the base station of your cordless phone plugs into the wall, your phone will be unusable during a power outage.
  • If a family member relies on electrically operated medical devices, secure a portable generator or make alternate arrangements for care. O&R does not provide customers with generators.
  • Keep at least a half-tank of gas in your car. Consider having extra cash on-hand, in case ATM machines don’t work.
  • Listen for storm alerts on the radio. In case of power outages, O&R will keep the stations updated on repair progress.
  • Learn how to manually open and close any electrically powered garage door, security door or gate.

For more information, visit O&R’s Storm Information Center.