Customers should prepare for multi-day power interruptions
NYSEG and RG&E, subsidiaries of AVANGRID, are responding to extreme winds across Western and upstate New York. There have been confirmed reports of sustained winds of 32 mph (58 mph gusts) at Rochester Airport, sustained winds of 46 mph (70 mph gusts) at the Niagara Falls Airport, and sustained winds of 38 mph (66 mph gusts) at the Buffalo Airport. These wind conditions have resulted in flying debris, trees uprooting and significant damage to NYSEG and RG&E equipment. As of 7:30 p.m., more than 30,000 NYSEG and RG&E customers are without power. Customers are urged to continue to monitor forecasts, stay safe and plan for outages lasting several days.
Wherever possible, the companies will use remote or manually controlled equipment to restore service. The immediate focus is on making downed equipment safe, ensuring access to critical facilities such as fire, police and hospitals, and assessment of the damage. Infrastructure repair and restoration of service will occur as it is safe to do so.
More than 2,500 line, tree and service and support personnel are responding to this event. In addition to company and contract resources, the companies have obtained resources from Canada, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Jersey. NYSEG and RG&E offices in seven divisions (Lancaster, Lockport, Rochester Central, Hornell, Fillmore, Sodus and Canandaigua) are open. They are providing road-clearing crews to county emergency operation centers (EOCs) in the seven divisions to help remove downed equipment or debris that is blocking critical roads. Company personnel are staffing the Monroe County and Erie County emergency operations centers round-the-clock through the event.
The companies’ emergency operations center for area command will remain open for the duration of the event. Other offices are on alert with standby crews and have responded to scattered incidents. All offices will have crews working through the overnight.
The companies have mobilized damage assessors and wire guards, and dry ice and bottled water distribution teams. Dry ice vendors have been notified with initial plans for distribution centers in the Lancaster, Hornell and Rochester areas. Once posted, customers can look for locations at nyseg.com or rge.com, clicking on the outage page, and then clicking on “Outage Resources.”
NYSEG and RG&E encourage customers to sign up for outage alerts to receive updates throughout the day automatically by phone, text or email, as the company updates the status of the restoration process in their area. This information is also available online at http://www.nyseg.com/Outages/outageinformation.html or http://www.rge.com/Outages/outageinformation.html.
Power Restoration Priorities
NYSEG’s and RG&E’s first priorities are to respond to known incidents of downed power lines to make the situations safe. NYSEG customers are asked to call 1-800-572-1131 to report downed wires. RG&E customers are asked to call 1-800-743-1701. Once this vital public safety work is complete, the company will assess the damage to the electricity delivery system and develop a detailed restoration plan. Crews will make repairs as quickly as possible.
Restoring Power Following Major Storms
The companies first repair the backbone of the electricity system – transmission lines and substations – that bring electricity to the local distribution system that serves customers. They then make any necessary repairs to the distribution system that includes the poles and power lines along streets and roads, focusing first on those circuits where they can restore power to the largest number of customers. As part of this process, they take into account the needs of hospitals, nursing homes, fire and police stations, as well as any other critical infrastructure.
NYSEG and RG&E offer the following reminders:
During a Power Interruption
•Contact neighbors to see if their power is off. A loss of power may be the result of a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker.
To report a power interruption, contact NYSEG at 1-800-572-1131 or RG&E at 1-800-743-1701. Telephone systems let callers report the problem, help crews respond quickly and efficiently, and provide customers with power interruption updates. Anyone who has access to a working computer or mobile device during a power interruption can also report the interruption online at nyseg.com or rge.com.
•Listen to a battery-powered radio for weather and power restoration updates.
•Turn off major appliances (electric water heaters, refrigerators and freezers) and sensitive electronic equipment (TVs, VCRs, DVD players, computers, and audio equipment) to prevent overloading and possible damage when power is restored. Turning off this equipment may mean unplugging it, turning off a circuit breaker or removing a fuse for the circuit that provides power to this equipment. Leave one light switch “on” to know when power has been restored.
•Don’t use a natural gas or propane range to heat your home.
•Never use outdoor grills or stoves inside.
•Keep refrigerators and freezers closed as much as possible. Most food lasts 24 hours if one minimizes the opening of refrigerator and freezer doors.
After Power Is Restored
•If a basement or home was flooded, customers should have an electrician check the home and have a plumbing and heating contractor check natural gas appliances before contacting NYSEG or RG&E to have services turned on.
•Turn on appliances and sensitive electronic equipment one at a time to avoid overloading circuits.
•Replenish emergency supplies used during the storm.