STATE — PSE&G has restored power to 30 percent of the 1.5 million customers who lost electricity as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The utility is still working to restore service to 900,000 customers who remain without electricity.
The worst storm in PSE&G’s history caused major flooding of substations, damaged power lines and other equipment. Tuesday, the utility successfully brought three flooded substations back on line, allowing major circuits to be restored to the cities of Newark and Elizabeth and Newark Airport. Work continues on other stations including ones that serve Jersey City and the Sewaren area.
“PSE&G will be working around the clock to assess the damage and restore service,” said company president Ralph LaRossa. ”Given the destructive nature of this storm, however, some customers may be without service for seven or more days. Our urban centers were especially hard hit as a result of substation flooding. One of our first priorities is to get those stations back in service.”
The walls of water created by the storm surge flooded a large number of substations along the Passaic, Raritan and Hudson rivers, disrupting service to customers in Hudson, Essex and Middlesex counties. The magnitude of the flooding in contiguous areas is unprecedented. PSE&G had to take these stations out of service, wait for the flood waters to recede to assess the damage, dry out the equipment, replace equipment when necessary and re-energize the system to restore service.
PSE&G distributing free ice and water to customers without power at the following locations on a first come, first served basis between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.:
- Elizabeth Customer Service Center, 550 N. Broad Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202
- West Orange Customer Service Center, 59 Main Street, West Orange, NJ 07052
- Garden State Plaza, One Garden Plaza, Paramus, NJ 07652
- Burlington Customer Service Center (PSE&G lot across the street from CSC), 501 High Street, Burlington, NJ 08016
PSE&G has assembled a “virtual army” of over 1,550 technicians — 600 PSE&G workers and 950 workers from across the country — plus an additional 600 contractors to cut and remove trees. PSE&G is beginning to dispatch crews Wednesdaymorning now that the high winds have started to subside. In a number of areas, restoration work may be delayed until flood waters recede.
Crews helping in the restoration efforts have come from Texas, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Georgia and New Jersey, as well as Canada.
Many of the outages were caused by falling trees and limbs, which bring down power lines. Downed wires 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. To report a downed wire and other visible equipment damage, call 1-800-436-PSEG and tell PSE&G the nearest cross street.
To report a power outage, call PSE&G’s Customer Service line: 1-800-436-PSEG.