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Orange and Rockland Utilities Inc.

10/31/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/31/2019 13:07

O&R Upgrades to Storm Alert as Strong Winds, Heavy Rain Near

That storm is due to pound the region tonight and overnight into Friday morning, with the highest winds expected between 10 p.m. today, diminishing after 6 a.m. Friday.

Storm activity, particularly the high winds predicted for late tonight and early Friday, have the potential to cause power line damage and electric service interruptions.

Stay Away from Downed Wires

Customers are reminded to consider the poor weather conditions expected and the potential for tree and power line damage when making plans for trick-or-treating or other outdoor activities scheduled for children today and Friday.

Downed power lines are very dangerous and should not be approached by anyone. Because of tonight's Halloween celebration that risk is higher as children will be walking through neighborhoods, going house-to-house trick-or-treating.

For safety's sake, don't touch or approach any downed wire. Assume it is energized and dangerous. Call O&R immediately toll-free 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.

The already rain-soaked ground and a remaining partial canopy of leaves on the trees could further intensify concerns about tree-damage. O&R crews will be ready to respond to those events as needed.

Weather forecasters expect O&R's service area to get .75 - 2 inches of rain from early this evening through the night into Friday morning with some scattered severe thunderstorms possible. In addition for that period, winds are expected to be sustained at 25 mph with gusts overnight tonight into Friday morning of 35 to as much as 50 mph. The storm is expected to begin to subside after 6 a.m. Friday.

Company and contractor overhead line crews and tree removal crews are preparing for a high-volume outage response to the storm, as are damage assessment, site safety, customer service operations and the wide array of O&R teams that support those functions. O&R also has hired over 80 extra mutual aid overhead line technicians to supplement its field teams.

To prepare for the severe weather, O&R electric and gas crews are securing active work sites through the day today to prevent wind and water damage from the coming storm.

To help understand the typical storm repair and power restoration process, please watch this video.

There are several ways customers can report outages and check service restoration status:

  • Go to the O&R websitefrom any computer or web-enabled mobile device;
  • Use the O&R mobile app from your iPhone, iPad or Android device;
  • Text 'OUT' to 69678 (myORU); or
  • Call Customer Assistance at 1-877-434-4100

To help its customers prepare to weather a storm, O&R offers these tips:

  • For safety's sake, don't touch or approach any downed wire. Assume it is energized and dangerous. Call O&R immediately toll-free 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.