PSE&G is monitoring Hurricane Sandy, and in what might be a small glint of hope in an array of frightening news, they're saying that the storm "is tracking further south" - and that might bring a little less of the horror of a direct hit right on the region.
The utility company said in a statement that they are "ramping up emergency preparations." They expect heavy rain, strong winds, and flooding to the central New Jersey area, with the storm beginning as early as late Sunday evening, with the full brunt expected Monday and Tuesday.
In anticipation of Hurricane Sandy, PSE&G has requested more than 1,300 linemen and 600 tree contractors from utilities in other states to assist their crews. The utility's call center will be fully staffed to handle calls from customers. Other employees will assist with assessing storm damage, keeping the public away from any downed power lines and other functions that support restoration efforts.
The good news is the utility company has made some significant financial investments to keep the power on. Since Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm in 2011, PSE&G said in a statement that they've upgraded and improved their electric delivery system to help withstand storms:
- Replaced older 26,000-volt lines with lines capable of carrying 69,000 volts. These lines provide greater protection against lightning strikes and can better withstand wind and rain.
- Spent about $28 million pruning trees away from power lines.
- Tightened coordination with county Offices of Emergency Management to ensure that public officials have the latest information on outages and restoration progress.
- Compiled a list of school administrators and superintendents to contact in case schools are affected by outages.
- Made some improvements to automated call answering systems.
A storm like Hurricane Sandy has the potential to interrupt service. High winds might cause trees to brush up against power lines, and lightning could strike and damage trees or pole-top equipment. There also is the potential for trees to be uprooted.
Depending on the severity of the storm, response times for both electric and gas emergency services may be longer than usual. PSE&G asks for customers' patience and cooperation as they work to restore service.
To report downed wires or power outages, call 800-436-PSE&G.
PSE&G uses an automated system to handle customer calls as efficiently as possible. Customers who get an automated response when calling PSE&G are encouraged to use it, as it is designed to route their calls to the right destination quickly.
Customers with a handheld device, or who are at an alternate location with power, can also report power outages and view the status of their outage by logging in to My Account at pseg.com.
You can also keep abreast of PSE&G's Twitter page at twitter.com/psegdelivers to monitor restoration progress.