NEWARK – Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G) Company, New Jersey’s largest electric and gas utility, is warning customers to be prepared for potential wide-spread and lengthy power outages as a result of the major winter storm that is currently hitting its service territory.
The National Weather Service has issued winter storm warnings throughout New Jersey until Wednesday evening. Significant snow and ice accumulations are possible in some areas.
PSE&G has extra personnel and supplies on hand for electric and gas storm-related emergencies, but utility officials believe there is the possibility for “wide-spread and lengthy” power outages.
“If weather forecasts are correct, we could experience significant damage to our power lines due to icing and tree issues,” said PSE&G President and COO Ralph LaRossa. “Depending on the severity of the damage, response times for both electric and gas emergencies may be longer. Dangerous icing conditions may make it difficult for our utility crews to safely travel to restore service. We ask that customers be patient.”
Snow, by itself, does not pose a serious problem for utilities, but heavy snow or icing can increase the possibility of downed wires and associated power outages. Cars striking utility poles can also cause wires to come down.
PSE&G uses an automated system to handle customer calls. Customers who get an automated response when calling PSE&G should not hesitate to use it, as it is designed to route their calls to the right destinations. The system also provides the option to speak directly to a customer service representative. Customers are asked to use this option if they are calling to report damage to wires, transformers or poles
Customers can monitor restoration progress by signing up as followers at http://twitter.com/psegoutageinfo.
Updates will also be posted on www.pseg.com in the “For Your Information” section.
In anticipation of possible storm conditions, PSE&G offers the following tips:
DOWNED POWER LINES
Accumulation of ice may weigh down power lines and as a result cause power lines to come down. Downed wires may appear dead but should always be considered “live.” Do not approach or drive over a downed line and do not touch anything that it might be in contact with. If a wire falls on a vehicle, passengers should stay in the vehicle until help arrives. To report a downed wire, call 1-800-436-PSEG and tell PSE&G the nearest cross street.
CUSTOMERS WITH LIFE-SUSTAINING EQUIPMENT
Individuals who rely on electricity to operate life-sustaining electronic equipment, such as a respirator or dialysis machine, should pre-register with PSE&G to receive priority attention in the event of an outage. To request the service, call PSE&G at 1-800-436-PSEG. They should also inform their rescue squads and fire departments of their needs, in case of emergency. Even though customers with life-sustaining equipment who have registered with PSE&G will receive priority attention during outages, they should also have emergency back-up equipment on hand, since immediate restoration cannot be guaranteed.
IF YOU LOSE POWER
First check your neighborhood. If you are the only one without power, check your fuse box for tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses. If that’s not the problem, look outside at the wire between your house and the utility pole. If it is down, report it immediately to PSE&G.
It’s wise to have an emergency kit on hand year round. Here are some things to include:
- A battery powered radio.
- A corded telephone (cordless phones will not work if the power is out)
- Flashlights and extra fresh batteries.
- A first-aid kit.
- Bottled water and an adequate supply of non-perishable food.
- A non-electric can opener.
- Matches and candles with holders.
- Extra blankets and sleeping bags.
- A list of emergency phone numbers, including PSE&G’s Customer Service line: 1-800-436-PSEG. Call this number to report power outages or downed wires.
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