PEARL RIVER, NY, Oct. 28, 2020 1 p.m. --- Orange & Rockland (O&R) today declared a storm watch as the company ramped up its emergency response team to make repairs and restore electric service as needed as Tropical Storm Zeta, packing high, gusty winds, heavy downpours and possibly even snow, roars toward the region.
Company and contractor overhead line crews and tree removal experts have been activated for storm duty. 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 200 additional contractor overhead line technicians from Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Minnesota to supplement its storm response.
Forecasters predict that the remnants of Tropical Storm Zeta will begin to arrive here as light rain at mid-morning Thursday with steadier rain falling in the afternoon, getting heavier after sunset. By dawn Friday, the rain is expected to change to snow with 1-3 inches predicted before tapering off by early afternoon. The forecast for Thursday calls for winds 10-20 mph with gusts to 30 mph. Winds Thursday are due to be sustained 10-20 mph, gusting to 40 mph.
Strong winds may knock trees and branches onto power lines, causing customers to lose service. Of particular concern in this storm are trees with nearly full canopies of leaves that provide extra strain for branches and trunks in high winds and snow, and rain-saturated ground that provides less stable footing for the roots that anchor trees.
Once the storm has passed and it is safe to assess damage and begin service restoration, O&R crews will give priority to making repairs that clear major community roads --- work that also restores power to a sizable number of nearby customers. At the same time, crews will restore power to critical and emergency facilities (police and fire stations, and hospitals, for example). Then, crews will focus on getting power back on to those locations that will return electricity to the most customers quickly. Crews then will work their way down to restore smaller outages and individual customer’s outages.
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/outage 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.
O&R urges its customers to stay clear of downed electric wires. Don’t go near any downed wire. Assume it is energized and dangerous. Call O&R immediately toll-free at 1-877-434-4100. If the situation requires urgent action, call your local police to divert traffic until an O&R crew arrives.
Important Safety Tips
- 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.
As an added safety precaution, O&R personnel have been instructed to practice social distancing with each other and members of the public when responding to emergency calls to keep everyone safe from the coronavirus. O&R asks members of the public to maintain appropriate social distancing when they encounter O&R employees working in the field, to provide for mutual safety.
To help its customers prepare to weather a storm, O&R offers these tips:
- 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 our 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.
Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R), a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, is a regulated utility. O&R provides electric service to approximately 300,000 customers in southeastern New York State (where its franchise name is Orange & Rockland) and northern New Jersey (where it’s Rockland Electric Company) and natural gas service to approximately 130,000 customers in New York.
O&R serves the following communities in New York: Airmont, Bloomingburg, Blooming Grove, Chester Town, Chester Village, Chestnut Ridge, Clarkstown, Crawford, Deerpark, Florida, Forestburgh, Goshen Town, Goshen Village, Grand View, Greenwood Lake, Greenville, Harriman, Haverstraw Town, Haverstraw Village, Highland Falls, Highlands, Hillburn, Kaser, Kiryas Joel, Lumberland, Mamakating, Middletown, Minisink, Monroe Town, Monroe Village, Montebello, Mount Hope, New Hempstead, New Square, Nyack, Orangetown, Otisville, Palm Tree, Piermont, Pomona, Port Jervis, Ramapo, Sloatsburg, South Blooming Grove, South Nyack, Spring Valley, Stony Point, Suffern, Tuxedo Town, Tuxedo Park, Unionville, Upper Nyack, Wesley Hills, Wallkill, Warwick Town, Warwick Village, Washingtonville, Wawayanda, West Haverstraw, Woodbury, Woodbury Village, Wurtsboro.
O&R, as Rockland Electric Company, serves the following communities in New Jersey:
Allendale, Alpine, Closter, Cresskill, Demarest, Franklin Lakes, Harrington Park, Mahwah, Haworth (part), Montague, Montvale, Northvale, Norwood, Oakland, Old Tappan (part), Ramsey, Ringwood, Rivervale (part), Rockleigh, Saddle River (part), Upper Saddle River, Wantage (part), Vernon (part), West Milford (part), Wyckoff (part).