O&R Crews Working Through the Night to Repair Storm Damage and Restore Power to More than 40,000 Customers

O&R company and contractor overhead line and tree crews will be working through the night tonight and through the weekend to restore electric service to more than 42,000 customers whose power was knocked out earlier today by the destructive nor’easter that has been pummeling the region with high winds and heavy snow and rain.

Nearly 8,000 customers who lost power as a result of the storm have been restored to service. Most of those outages were caused by high winds and damaged trees that downed wires and snapped poles.    

 

That damage makes for more time-consuming repair because the tree and broken equipment must be cleared from the site before a new pole can be set, new transformers can be hung and new wire can be strung. More high winds are forecast for this evening and through the night

 

Restoration efforts have been further hampered by the high winds and even higher gusts generated by this powerful storm. Those efforts are impaired by difficult travel conditions, including very high wind gusts, snow clogged roads and falling debris from trees. Safety issues also come into play during a storm as dangerous as this one. If sustained winds reach higher than 40 mph, OSHA safety regulations prevent O&R crews from working in bucket trucks. Safety regulations forbid the buckets from raising equipment when the sustained winds reach 30 mph. 

 

Here are the approximate number of customers currently out of service as of 6:45 p.m.:

 

Rockland - 17,000

Sullivan -  7,400

Orange - 12,000

Passaic - 2,500

Sussex - 175

Bergen - 3,000

 

All available O&R personnel are scheduled to work through the weekend around the clock in overhead line operations, damage assessment, site safety, customer service and the wide array of O&R teams that support those operations. O&R also has hired 60 additional contract overhead line technicians to supplement its workforce’s repair efforts.

 

O&R’s power restoration efforts focus first on repairs that support public safety such as clearing downed wires from roads. The next priority is restoring outages that affect the greatest number of customers in succession until all customers’ service that can be restored is, in fact, restored. 

 

For the most current numbers, visit O&R’s Outage Map.

 

There are several ways customers can report outages and check service restoration status:

  • Go to www.oru.com/outage from any computer or web-enabled mobile device;
  • Use the O&R mobile app from your iPhone, iPad or Android device;
  • Text “OUT” to 69678 (myORU); or
  • Call Customer Assistance at 1-877-434-4100

The following video describes the typical storm repair and power restoration process:

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 or otherwise secure.
  • 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.
  • Have emergency equipment within reach --- portable radio, flashlights, spare batteries, first aid kit, cell phone and important medications. 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. 

 

For more information, visit O&R’s Storm Center at www.oru.com.

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