PEARL RIVER – Monday’s storms caused significant damage to the region, with strong gusts up to 60 mph toppling limbs and trees onto power lines causing widespread electric service interruptions throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley and beyond. In total and as of 8 p.m, this evening, more than 39,000 customers of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation were affected by the storm.
Service has been restored to nearly 22,000 homes and businesses, and currently more than 16,000 are without electric service, the majority of which continue to be located in southeastern Dutchess County and Orange County. More than 470 individual damage locations are reported, each to be addressed by repair crews in order to restore electric service.
“We realize that many residents are at home and dependent on electric service for common household uses and to stay connected, perhaps now more than ever,” said Ryan Hawthorne, Assistant Vice President of Electric Engineering and Operations at Central Hudson. “We remain committed to restoring power as quickly and safely as possible under these unique circumstances.”
Hawthorne stressed that residents should stay at least 30 feet away from downed power lines, and to remember that lines may be entangled and hidden in fallen trees and limbs. “Assume all downed lines are live,and keep a wide distance from fallen trees and limbs,” he said. Because many families and children are at home and often take walks in their neighborhoods, Hawthorne urged residents to watch for and keep themselves and neighbors away from these hazards. Motorists should also be aware of the potential for downed limbs and power lines that may block roadways, and should never attempt to drive over or around downed power lines.
More than 300 electric line and tree clearing personnel are working to repair power outages, together with hundreds of support staff to deliver needed supplies, assess damage, guard downed wires and provide additional services. “Because of the significant number of individual damage locations, we expect that repairs will likely continue to take place throughout Tuesday and Wednesday for most service restorations,” said Hawthorne.
“For the safety of the public and utility personnel, we are following CDC guidelines,” he said. “Our electric line crews and support staff are practicing social distancing when addressing emergencies and we are staging crews to avoid clustering of personnel. We kindly ask that our customers, too, maintain social distancing with one another and our field personnel as they repair storm damage and restore power.”
Hawthorne said that despite widespread storm damage in the south and nearby states, Central Hudson has secured the assistance of contract crews from Ohio, Florida, Toronto and Ottawa, due to arrive on Tuesday and Wednesday. “We were successful in calling upon 80 additional electric line contractors to assist in our efforts to restore electric service to our customers,” said Hawthorne. “We will continue to use every means to secure additional resources as they become available,” he said.