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NYSEG, RG&E preparing for strong winds on Sunday

Sat, Nov 14th 2020 03:15 pm

Company readying crews and equipment as wind and rain forecasted

NYSEG and RG&E are preparing for the potential of strong winds which are expected to move into their service areas early Sunday morning. The storm is expected to impact portions of the company’s service area statewide.

Current forecasts call for strong winds to begin around 10 a.m. in the Western New York NYSEG service areas and the RG&E service area. Winds are expected to reach the Eastern New York service areas at approximately 2 p.m. Sunday.

The Western New York and Rochester service areas are expected to experience sustained winds of 30-40 mph and peak gusts reaching as high as 65 mph in some areas. The Eastern New York service area is expected to experience sustained gusts of 15-20 mph and peak gusts at 40-50 mph. There is a prediction of rain accumulation between .4 to .75 inches, and elevated areas may see closer to an inch of rain. Scattered thunderstorms are possible. The strong winds may cause trees and branches to break and fall on electrical equipment, causing service disruptions.

The companies’ storm readiness teams have been monitoring weather forecasts, planning, readying crews and equipment, mobilizing employees for storm duty and have additional contract tree and line crews ready to help restore service should outages occur. The companies urge customers to monitor local forecasts and prepare for the possibility of service interruptions.

•COVID-19: Recognizing that many residents are currently home due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, for everyone’s safety, the company asks customers to observe a 6-foot social distance if they must be near workers, and always remain outside the work zone. Allowing crews to remain uninterrupted and focused on their work enables workers to determine damage and make repairs more quickly.

•How to Stay Up-To-Date: NYSEG and RG&E will provide updates throughout the event to the general public on their websites and social media channels (Facebook and Twitter). Customers can also sign up for email alerts and download the NYSEG or RG&E mobile app to get the most up-to-date information. 

•Safety Tips: The companies also offer customers the following reminders to prepare for the storm and stay safe if power outages do occur.

√ Before a storm strikes

  • One can use the new mobile app to report and check the status of outages. To download the application, customers should search “AVANGRID” in the Apple or Android app stores and select “NYSEG” or “RG&E.” The application is free to download.
  • Sign up for outage alerts to receive updates automatically by phone, text or email, as the company updates the status of the restoration process in the area. Customers can sign up for outage alerts by visiting here for NYSEG and here for RG&E.
  • Keep battery-operated flashlights and radios on hand, along with supplies of drinking water and nonperishable foods.
  • Make sure smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices are fully charged.
  • Fill your car’s fuel tank.

√ Stay away from downed wires

  • Stay at least 30 feet from a downed power line.
  • If a downed wire comes in contact with your vehicle, stay inside and wait for help. If you must get out because of fire or other danger, jump clear of the vehicle to avoid any contact with the vehicle and the ground at the same time. Land with your feet together and hop with feet together or shuffle away; don’t run or stride.
  • NYSEG customers should call 1-800-572-1131 while RG&E customers should call 1-800-743-1701 to report downed power lines or other hazardous situations.

√ 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.
  • Keep refrigerators and freezers closed as much as possible. Most food will last 24 hours if you minimize the opening of refrigerator and freezer doors.

•Power Restoration Priorities: The companies’ first priorities are to respond to reports of downed power lines to keep the public safe. NYSEG customers are asked to call 1-800-572-1131 and RG&E customers are asked to call 1-800-743-1701 to report downed wires. Once this vital public safety work is complete, the company will:

  • Assess the damage to the electricity delivery system.
  • Develop a detailed restoration plan.
  • Make repairs as quickly as possible.

For additional information, including storm preparation tips, storm safety information, generator safety information, restoration priorities and emergency resources, visit outage central at www.NYSEG.com or www.RGE.com.

What’s More

The governor’s office, noting “lakeshore flooding may occur in places along Lake Erie and Lake Ontario due to high winds and wave action Sunday night and into Monday morning,” provided these additional safety tips:

•Safety Tips: To prepare for potential power outages, New Yorkers should:

  • Have a list of emergency numbers readily available.
  • At home or at work, keep a battery-operated radio and flashlight on hand, as well as a supply of batteries. Keep an emergency supply of water, medications and nonperishable foods handy. If you use medication that requires refrigeration, most can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem – check with your physician or pharmacist.
  • Make sure you have alternative charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power. Charge cell phones and any battery-powered devices.
  • If you have space in your refrigerator or freezer, consider filling plastic containers with water, leaving an inch of space inside each one – this will help keep food cold if the power goes out.
  • If you have an electric garage door opener, locate the manual release level and learn how to operate it.
  • Keep your car's gas tank at least half-full; gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. If you use your car to recharge devices, do not keep the car running in a garage, partially enclosed space, or close to a home – this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Plan to have an alternative cooking source, such as a camp stove or outdoor grill. Follow appropriate safety rules for its use outside the residence.
  • If you are considering a generator for your home, consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing.
  • Have extra blankets, coats, hats and gloves on hand to keep warm.
  • If you have a computer, back up files and operating systems regularly. Turn off all computers, monitors and other devices when they are not being used.
  • If you rely on anything that is battery-operated or power-dependent, such as a medical device, determine a back-up plan. For example, if you have a telephone that requires electricity to work, plan for alternate communication such as a standard telephone handset, cell phone or radio.
  • Learn about emergency plans in your area, including the location of the closest cooling and warming shelters, by visiting your state's or local website.

•If experiencing a power outage, New Yorkers should:

  • Turn off or disconnect major appliances and other equipment, e.g., computers, in case of a momentary power surge that can damage these devices. Keep one light turned on so you know when power returns. Consider using surge protectors wherever you use electronic equipment.
  • Call your utility provider to notify them of the outage and listen to local broadcasts for official information. For a list of utilities, visit the New York State Department of Public Service Check to see if your neighbors have power. Check on people with access or functional needs.
  • Use only flashlights for emergency lighting – candles pose the risk of fire.
  • Keep refrigerators and freezer doors closed – most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for approximately four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
  • Do not use a charcoal grill indoors and do not use a gas stove for heat – they could give off harmful levels of carbon monoxide.
  • In cold weather, stay warm by dressing in layers and minimizing time spent outdoors. Be aware of cold stress symptoms (i.e., hypothermia), and seek proper medical attention if symptoms appear.
  • In intense heat, consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall or cooling shelter (if permitted under COVID-19 regulations). If you remain at home, move to the lowest level – cool air falls. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing and drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • If you are in a tall building, take the stairs and move to the lowest level of the building. If trapped in an elevator, wait for assistance. Do not attempt to force the doors open. Remain patient – there is plenty of air and the interior of the elevator is designed for passenger safety.
  • Remember to provide fresh, cool water for your pets.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion and dangerous driving conditions. If you must drive during a blackout, remember to obey the four-way stop rule at intersections with non-functioning traffic signals.
  • Remember that equipment such as automated teller machines (ATMs) and elevators may not be working.
  • If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location, such as the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility that has heat.

For a complete list of weather terms and what to do before, during and after a power outage, visit the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website at http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/safety-info/outage.

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