Vicious Thunderstorms Knock Out Power to Tens of Thousands; O&R Mobilizes All Hands to Make Repairs, Restore Service

O&R crews are repairing damage and restoring service to almost 40,000 customers whose power was knocked out by severe thunderstorms, whose high winds and heavy rains began pounding the region late this afternoon, uprooting trees, toppling utility poles and tearing up electric lines.

O&R’s emergency storm response team, including company and contractor overhead line and tree removal crews, customer service operations and the wide array of O&R departments were mobilized before the storms struck.


As the destructive storms intensified late this afternoon, O&R upgraded its emergency response to a full-scale, all-hands mobilization, ordering more crews into the field to make repairs.


The storms roared out of the northwest shortly after mid-afternoon today, plowing a path of destruction through Orange and Sullivan counties, and then drove southwest into Rockland and Bergen counties.


There are approximately 37,000 customers out of service now at over 650 separate damage locations at this time. Here are the outage numbers by county at 6:15 p.m. For the latest outage numbers, please go to O&R’s Outage Map:


Orange – 24,750


Sullivan - 5,586


Rockland – 5,620


Bergen – 1,115


Passaic - 316


Sussex - 21


O&R urges the public to put safety first if confronted by any electric system damage.


Stay away from downed wires and transformers, and take other safety precautions as needed.


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

  • Go to the O&R website 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