Orange & Rockland Utilities reported 52,700 customers in Rockland County without power as of 10 a.m. Friday, with 140,000 total customers waiting for the return of their electricity.
O&R is currently projecting the end of next week for power restoration to most customers. The company is expecting aid from 160 National Guard troops expected to arrive Friday night. Mike Donovan of O&R said 1,000 members of the guard are being sent to aid in power restoration, including the 160 to O&R.
"In a situation like this, we are talking to the state office of emergency management. They offered them and we took them," said Mike Donovan of O&R. "
Donovan said O&R has been working with public officials, including a meeting Thursday morning and daily meetings with the highway departments in Rockland County.
"We've gotten some great ideas from public officials. Keep them coming," Donovan said. "We're partnering with them on this enterprise. Cooperation is what is going to get us through this sooner rather than later."
Among those ideas was for the towns in Rockland County to submit lists of priority roads for O&R to clear wires so they can be reopened.
"We get the wires cleared and the DPW comes in behind us and clears the trees," Donovan said. "We have a good working relationship with us and the local governments. The state officials have been helpful as well."
Not all of the response has been positive. Congresswoman Nita Lowey was critical of the utility company during a village meeting Thursday in Piermont, which is completely without power.
"They said they were ready," Lowey said. "Most municipalities, if they are lucky, have one crew. You can't remove the trees and you can't remove the debris if there is any chance of electricity in there. So you and others who are so efficient and effictive and ready to get your crews out can't because O&R didn't take care of what they have to do.
"It's outrageous that they are not prepared to deal with this. We understand what happened in New York City and Long Island is a disaster, but they should have had enough crews in Rockland and Westchester as well."
"That's inaccurate," Donovan said. "To say we were unprepared is an inaccurate statement."
Dry Ice Distribution Friday
Orange & Rockland Utilities will be distributing dry ice at Provident Bank Park in Pomona from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.
They will also have a distribution at the Bergen County Office of Emergency Management at 285 Campgaw Road in Mahwah, NJ from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Outage Map and Restoration Plan
O&R's outage map was down with technical difficulties Thursday morning, but was back up that night and can be found _here_.
The following is O&R's explanation of its plan to restore it system.
- Damage assessment on state, county and major local roads.
- Reconstruction of the distribution system on state roads, followed by county roads. After that work is done, crews will be shifted to restoring circuits feeding critical infrastructure and services. These critical facilities include local governments whose operations provide essential services required by residents.
- Restoration then moves onto critical infrastructure followed by the largest block of customers out of service, smaller blocks of customers and then individual customer service outages.
- As restoration continues, site safety personnel are working to ensure public safety by securing downed wires on major roads.