Storm Watch: O&R Ready to Make Repairs, Restore Power as Nor’Easter Approaches
O&R is mobilizing its company-wide emergency response group to make repairs and restore electric service in preparation for this weekend’s predicted nor’easter, which is expected to sweep through the region Sunday evening into Monday.
O&R company and contractor overhead line crews and tree removal experts have been activated for storm duty beginning Sunday evening.
Damage assessment, site safety, customer service operations and the wide array of O&R teams that support those functions also are ready to respond. In addition, O&R has obtained additional contractor overhead line technicians to supplement its storm response. Those additional resources expand O&R’s field workforce by over twice its normal size.
A low-pressure system is expected to bring snow showers to the area beginning after 9 p.m. Sunday. The snow is expected to fall moderately to heavy at times, before changing over to rain around 2 a.m. Monday in Rockland and Bergen counties where approximately 2 inches to 5 inches of snow is possible. In Orange, Sullivan, Passaic and Sussex counties, the change over from snow to rain isn’t expected until 4 a.m. Monday. That could result in approximately 5 inches to 10 inches of snow.
In addition, gusty winds are likely and highest closer to the coast after midnight until 6 a.m. Monday. Winds in Rockland and Bergen counties are expected to peak overnight Sunday into Monday 20-30 m.p.h. sustained with gusts of 45 to 60 m.p.h. In Orange, Sullivan, Passaic and Sussex counties, the winds are expected to be 15-30 m.p.h. sustained with gusts of 40 to 50 m.p.h.
Rain will taper off around dawn Monday near the coast and about late morning further inland as low pressure exits into northern New England. Winds will remain breezy in the wake of this system, with gusts close to 30-40 mph through Monday evening.
These strong winds could knock trees and branches onto power lines, causing customers to lose service. For safety’s sake, don’t touch or approach any downed wires.
Once the weather clears enough to safely assess damage and begin electric service restoration, crews will give priority to clearing downed wires blocking roads and making repairs to critical and emergency facilities (police and fire stations, and hospitals, for example) and to those locations that will provide power to the most customers quickly. Then, crews will restore smaller outages and individual customers’ outages.
O&R personnel have been instructed to practice social distancing with each other, mutual aid personnel and members of the public when responding to emergency calls in an attempt to keep everyone safe from the coronavirus. O&R asks members of the public as well to maintain appropriate social distancing when they encounter O&R employees working in the field to provide for mutual safety.
How to Report an Outage
If you experience a power outage, don’t assume that O&R automatically knows about it. You can report it and check to see when your lights will be back on through:
- At www.oru.com/ReportOutage from any computer or web-based mobile device.
- O&R mobile app from your iPhone, iPad or Android device — download via Apple Store or Google Play.
- Text messaging by texting “OUT” to 69678 (myORU) or
- Call 1-877-434-4100.
Important Safety 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 O&R’s 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.