200,000 customers lose power in O&R territory


PEARL RIVER – Orange and Rockland Utilities employees, working through the night, restored service to approximately 80,000 of its nearly 200,000 customers whose power was knocked out by the damaging high winds and heavy rains from yesterday’s powerful tropical storm.

The number of O&R customers without electric service at 11 a.m. is approximately 117,000.

Today’s O&R work proceeds on a number of important fronts to continue assessing damage, addressing public safety issues, clearing critical roads and restoring locations that provide critical services such as hospitals, nursing homes and police and fire stations.

Crews are working to:

  • Repair the 10 transmission lines damaged by the storm. Those lines deliver bulk power into the O&R system from the electric grid and play a vital role in the reliable operation of the O&R electric system.
  • Help open more than 100 critical community roads that have been closed by storm damage that includes downed electric wires.
  • Restore electric service to eight hospitals and more than 750 essential services customers that lost their electric service to storm damage.

Also, O&R crews will focus on electric service repair and restoration throughout its service area.

O&R tree removal contractors will fan out throughout the service area to repair damage.

Today’s work is important in helping O&R establish estimated restoration times. Restoration efforts will be further supported today by over 150 additional contractor overhead line technicians. O&R is seeking another 750 overhead line technicians from its mutual aid and contractor partners.

The following video describes the typical storm repair and power restoration process: https://youtu.be/JeGU8ID4_m0.

O&R estimates that today’s storm damage will rank second only to Superstorm Sandy which impacted electrical service to 250,000 customers.

For the most up-to-date outage information, please go to O&R’s Outage Map. Here are the customer outage numbers as of 11:00 a.m. today:

   NEW YORK — 76,142

  • Rockland:  47,142
  • Orange: 23,179

 Sullivan: 4,995

 NEW JERSEY — 40,906

 Bergen: 33,720

  • Passaic: 7,044
  • Sussex: 142

Important Safety Tips

  • Don’t go near any downed wire. Assume it is energized and dangerous. Call O&R immediately toll-free at 1-877-434-4100. Depending on the situation, you may also want to call your local police to divert traffic until an O&R crew arrives.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 50 feet from downed wires and anything they are in contact with including puddles of water and fences. Supervise your children so that they are not in the vicinity and keep pets on a leash or otherwise secure.
  • If a fallen wire is draped over a car, do not approach the car and make rescue attempts. Remain a safe distance away and try to keep the occupant of the vehicle calm. If possible, emergency personnel should handle the situation.
  • Pole-top transformers — those small grey-colored metal drums attached to the wires at the tops of most utility poles — also should be avoided when they have been knocked to the ground.
  • Portable generators pose a serious hazard if used improperly. They should be used and installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. A wrong connection could feed electricity back through the lines and endanger our repair crews. Never plug a generator into a wall unit, use it indoors or set it up outdoors near open home windows or air-handling vents.
  • Have emergency equipment within reach — portable radio, flashlights, spare batteries, first aid kit, cell phone and important medications. Keep O&R’s toll-free number 1-877-434-4100 near the phone to report power outages.
  • Remember: if the base station of your cordless phone plugs into the wall, your phone will be unusable during a power outage.

As an added safety precaution, O&R personnel have been instructed to practice social distancing with each other and members of the public when responding to emergency calls in an attempt to keep everyone safe from the coronavirus. O&R asks members of the public as well to maintain appropriate social distancing when they encounter O&R employees working in the field, to provide for mutual safety.