Orange & Rockland customers probably noticed the insert in their most recent bill. It is part of the utility’s outreach to explain to customers what was involved in restoring power after Hurricane Sandy and how that effort compared to the damage to its system from 2011’s Hurricane Irene and late October Snowstorm.
“There was so much information about discussion about the storms,” said O&R spokesperson Maria Pollard. “We wanted to give people a perspective of how big this (storm) was.”
Pollard said the utility wanted to show the numbers and how long it takes to rebuild and repair from intense storms. She said first there was 2011’s Hurricane Irene with “unprecedented damage” followed the October Snowstorm, which caused a “historical amount” of damage and then Hurricane Sandy which eclipsed both of them.
The insert lists the number of outages from each storm and days to restore service. Hurricane Sandy caused 250,000 outages, which just about equaled the cumulative outages of Hurricane Irene and the October Snowstorm, which were 120,000 and 135,000. It took 11 days to fully restore power after Hurricane Sandy and seven and eight days respectively from Hurricane Irene and the October Snowstorm.
Pollard said the company hoped to give customers an idea of what goes on behind the scenes to restore power by providing a detailed explanation of the process that begins with transmission lines and substations before reaching local neighborhoods and replacing poles and wires. Many people expressed frustration when after seeing utility trucks in their neighborhood, their power did not return.
“You’ve got to restore the main lines and get the most people on and then you get to the smaller areas,” she explained.
Here is a portion of the insert which includes a message from O&R President & CEO William Longhi:
“We’ve described Hurricane Sandy as destructive. Quite frankly that’s an understatement. We repaired 27 transmission lines, 17 substations, and almost all of our 280 distribution circuits and miles upon miles of secondary lines.”
It also states that O&R believes it improved its efforts since 2011 in areas such as handling customers’ calls but realizes that it needs to get better at estimating local restoration times. Last month, two Rockland County legislators announced they would hold a January 2013 hearing on the response to Hurricane Sandy’s devastation. http://patch.com/A-zxHm