Outage update: Power has been restored to about 20 percent of the 1.4 million customers who lost power during Hurricane Sandy. Customers without power currently number between 1M and 1.1M. The largest storm in PSE&G history caused major flooding of substations and damaged power lines and other equipment. Today the utility successfully brought three flooded substations back on line to restore feeder lines that serve Newark, Elizabeth and Newark Airport. Work will continue on other stations including ones that serve Jersey City and Sewaren.
The walls of water created by the storm surge flooded a large number of substations along the Passaic, Raritan and Hudson rivers, disrupting service to 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, wait for the flood waters to recede to assess the damage, dry out the equipment, replace equipment when necessary and re-energize the system to restore service.
PSE&G is distributing free ice and water to customers without power at the following locations on a first come, first served basis between 8 am and 4:30 pm:
Elizabeth Customer Service Center, 550 N. Broad Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202
West Orange Customer Service Center, 59 Main Street, West Orange, NJ 07052
Garden State Plaza, One Garden Plaza, Paramus, NJ 07652
Burlington Customer Service Center (PSE&G lot across the street from CSC), 501 High Street, Burlington, NJ 08016
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.
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 the heavy rain and predicted 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.
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.