By Briana Vannozzi
It’s all hands on deck as power companies across the tri-state area brace for high winds, high snow totals and the possibility of high power outages.
“I did buy a few batteries and stocked up on water and candles,” said Pennington resident Fran Carlson.
“It could bring downed lines and it also will make it more difficult for our crews to get around to make any restorations,” said PSE&G’s Karen Johnson.
Around New Jersey, utility companies like PSE&G, AC Electric and JCP&L have their standard crews mobilized, plus an additional 100 to 300 lineman each, ready to deploy.
“We are preparing for round the clock coverage starting this evening until whenever the storm subsides and we get everybody back in service,” said Atlantic City Electric Company Region President Vince Maione.
“We’ll be monitoring the winds closely today, the gusty winds which have the potential to cause tree conditions, causing tree limbs and branches to fall onto our wires.” said JCP&L’s Ron Morano.
In the event of widespread or local outages, here’s what your utility providers want you to do to be prepared:
– Make an emergency kit with warm clothes, flashlights and extra batteries. Put a battery powered radio in there too and candles with holders and matches.
– Have bottled water on hand, blankets and non-perishable food. If you haven’t already done so, make sure all prescription medications are filled and have enough cash on hand for a couple of days in case ATMs and credit card machines are down.
– Charge your cell phones, tablets and laptops and fuel up your car.
– Most importantly, they say, if you plan to use a generator, keep it in an open area away from your home and windows — it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning and the same goes for gas stoves or grills.
“A lot of times we do have power outages resulting from customers who are driving on the roads they hit a utility pole and bring the wires down,” said Johnson.
All utility companies are urging customers to use caution should you see a downed power line. They say, always consider it to be live. Don’t drive over it, don’t approach it and don’t touch anything that wire is contacting.
“We have 46 full-time equivalent mutual aid workers coming in from Rochester and Chicago to lend a hand,” said Allan Drury.
Con-Edison customers in Manhattan and the outer boroughs may have more than just the snow to worry about.
“You have melting snow and ice and salt getting into the underground system and that causes problems there and you can get smoke in manholes and manhole fires and customers out of service,” said Drury.
Utility companies are relying heavily on social media to disseminate updates on outages and restoration. They say if you haven’t already done so, sign up for email or text alerts. Download apps if they’re available from your provider and stay informed. Most importantly report any outages as they happen.
To report power outages, contact your power company at the links below:
Atlantic City Electric
PSE&G Long Island
Orange & Rockland