As Heavy Rain, High Winds Approach, O&R Declares a Storm Watch

O&R declared a Storm Watch today as a strong weather system packing high winds and heavy rain is expected to drench the region this afternoon and through the evening with continuing high wind gusts into Thursday.

Storm activity, particularly the high winds predicted for today and Thursday, have the potential to cause power line damage and electric service interruptions. O&R crews will be ready to respond to those events as needed.

Company and contractor overhead line crews and tree removal crews are ramping up for a high-volume outage response to the storm, as are damage assessment, site safety, customer service operations and the wide array of O&R teams that support those functions.

To prepare for the severe weather, O&R electric and gas crews are securing active work sites today to prevent wind and water damage from the predicted storm.

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

Weather forecasters expect O&R’s service area to get 1.5 - 3 inches of rain from late this afternoon until about midnight. In addition for that period, winds are expected to be sustained 10-20 mph with gusts to 30 mph. On Thursday, winds are expected to be sustained 15-25 mph, gusting to 30-40 mph.

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

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.

• Pole-top transformers --- those small grey-colored metal drums attached to the wires at the tops of most utility poles --- also should be avoided when they have been knocked to the ground.

• Portable generators pose a serious hazard if used improperly. They should be used and installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. A wrong connection could feed electricity back through the lines and endanger our repair crews. Never plug a generator into a wall unit, use it indoors or set it up outdoors near open home windows or air-handling vents.

• 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.

• Remember: if the base station of your cordless phone plugs into the wall, your phone will be unusable during a power outage. 

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