UPDATE at 10 p.m.
Orange and Rockland Utilities workers are facing the taks of rebuilding many of their systems after Hurricane Sandy knocked out power to approximately 200,000 of the company's 300,000 electric customers Monday.
In what is the final report from O&R for the night, the utility company is projecting a return of service to a majority of customers within 10 days, but full repairs could take much longer.
According to the release: "Once the severe weather conditions have subsided, O&R will begin a systematic inspection, damage assessment, reconstructiona nd restoration process. While this massive effort is expected to take weeks to complete, we project that the majority of the customers will be restored to service within 10 days. These projections are very preliminary and will be adjusted as the full extent of the damage is determined."
O&R restored power to 4,000 before suspending work in the field due to the severity of the weather.
According to the release: "O&R will return those crews to the field hwen the weather moderates enough to work safely."
Update at 6:33 p.m.
Orange and Rockland Utilities crews are working to keep up as Hurricane Sandy continues to knock out power to more customers.
O&R was reporting that 50,000 of its customers had lost power due to the impact of the storm by 6 p.m., but the company had restored electricity to 4,000 of them.
At 4 p.m., it was 15,000 that had lost power and 3,000 that had been restored.
Due to the large amount of damage expected from Sandy, O&R is still projecting waits of seven-to-10 days for repairs to its electrical systems, with some outages lasting longer. They sent 1,000 employes and 800 contractors into the field Monday, with more expected to join them during the week.
Patch spoke with Mike Donovan of O&R earlier Monday about last-minute preparations and the complications of making repairs during the storm. One reason repairs may take a long time is that O&R does not send workers up in a bucket if winds reach 40 miles per hour as a safety precaution and Sandy is expected to continue to bring winds higher than that overnight and into Tuesday.
O&R's outage map can be found here.
O&R offers these tips before the storm:
- 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.
- 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.
- Stock up on non-perishable food, bottled water, manual can opener, baby supplies and pet food. Set your refrigerator and freezer controls to their coldest settings. Fill the bathtub with water.
- Have emergency equipment within reach --- portable radio, flashlights, spare batteries, first aid kit, cell phone and important medications. Update your personal list of emergency phone numbers. Keep O&R’s toll-free number 1-877-434-4100 near the phone to report power outages.
- If you experience a power outage, don’t assume that O&R automatically knows about it or that someone else will report it. To be sure the outage is reported, please call O&R toll-free at 1-877-434-4100 to let O&R know what happened. The more information you can provide, the more O&R can help you.
- Remember, if the base station of your cordless phone plugs into the wall, your phone will be unusable during a power outage.
- If a family member relies on electrically operated medical devices, secure a portable generator or make alternate arrangements for care. O&R does not provide customers with generators.
- Keep at least a half-tank of gas in your car. Consider having extra cash on-hand, in case ATM machines don’t work.
- Listen for storm alerts on the radio. In case of power outages, O&R will keep the stations updated on repair progress.
- Learn how to manually open and close any electrically powered garage door, security door or gate.
For more from Patch on O&R's response to Hurricane Sandy:
- UPDATE: O&R: All Hands on Deck for Hurricane Sandy
- O&R Prepares For Storm As Severe As Irene
- O&R Declares Storm Watch As Severe Weather Approaches