PSE&G Storm Update - Oct. 30, 2012 - 10 a.m.
By Mel Fabrikant Wednesday, October 31, 2012, 11:44 AM EDT
Hurricane Sandy has impacted more than 1.2 million PSE&G customers, making it the largest storm in PSE&G history. The walls of water created by the storm surge flooded a large number of PSE&G stations along the Passaic, Raritan and Hudson rivers, disrupting service for about 462,000 customers in Hudson, Essex and Middlesex counties. The magnitude of the flooding in contiguous areas is unprecedented. PSE&G had to take these stations out of service and will have to wait for the flood waters to recede before we can assess the damage, dry out the equipment, replace equipment when necessary and re-energize the system to restore service. It will be a slow, painstaking process.
PSE&G has assembled a "virtual army" of over 1,550 technicians -- 600 PSE&G workers and 950 workers from across the country -- plus an additional 600 contractors to cut and remove trees. Crews helping in the restoration efforts have come from Texas, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Georgia and New Jersey, as well as Canada.
Ralph LaRossa, PSE&G president, said, "PSE&G will be working around the clock to assess the damage and restore service. Given the destructive nature of this storm, however, some customers may be without service for seven or more days. Our urban centers were especially hard hit as a result of substation flooding. One of our first priorities is to get those stations back in service."
Many of the outages were caused by falling trees and limbs, which bring down power lines. Downed wires should always be considered "live." STAY AWAY FROM ALL DOWNED LINES. Do not approach or drive over a downed line and do not touch anything that it might be in contact with. To report a downed wire and other visible equipment damage, call 1-800-436-PSEG and tell PSE&G the nearest cross street.
To report a power outage, call PSE&G's Customer Service line: 1-800-436-PSEG.
In addition to widespread electric outages, PSE&G expects that the heavy rain and storm surge to result in gas outages. Water could enter the utility's gas distribution system, as well as flood customers' basements and gas appliances. Customers are reminded to call PSE&G to report gas odors, and contact their local fire department and municipal construction office to receive assistance in pumping the water out of their basements. In a number of areas, restoration work may be delayed until flood waters recede.
Customers with wells are advised to have a supply of bottled drinking water on hand, and should fill the bathtub with water for sanitary purposes.
Crews work around the clock to repair equipment and restore power. The utility's call center also will be fully staffed on a 24-hour basis to handle calls from customers. Other employees will assist with assessing storm damage, keeping the public away from any downed power lines and other functions that support restoration efforts.
Electric crews work to restore power to the largest numbers of customers first, taking into account "priority" customers, such as hospitals, police stations, fire stations, water and sewer facilities, communications facilities (TV, radio, and telephone), and customers on life-sustaining medical equipment. At the same time, the utility restores power to homes and businesses, starting with the circuits serving the largest number of customers.
Customers with a handheld device, or who are at an alternate location with power, can also report power outages and view the status of their outage by logging in to My Account at pseg.com. General outage activity throughout our service territory is available online at www.pseg.com/outagecenter and updates are posted on pseg.com during severe weather.
PSE&G has activated its Twitter page to keep the public informed about our restoration progress. Sign up as a follower at http://twitter.com/psegdelivers to monitor restoration progress.