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November 6, 2012

PSE&G Service Restoration Update – Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 9:45 p.m.

  • Outage update: PSE&G continues to make progress restoring customers. We currently have 220,400 customers without power. We have restored power to about 87 percent of customers affected by the hurricane. **The next update will be at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

  • PSE&G expects to continue to restore customers still impacted by Hurricane Sandy even though we are expecting a coastal storm beginning tomorrow afternoon. While work may continue in the rain, federal safety rules prevent line crews from working in bucket trucks when winds are greater than 40 mph. Crews will resume work when it is safe to do so. There are more than 4,000 out-of-state workers in addition to 700 PSE&G technicians working to restore power.

  • When repairing damaged lines in an area, we may need to take a line out of service temporarily for safety reasons. Power will be restored as soon as it is safe to do so. We ask for customers’ understanding when this occurs.

  • Customers may see a variety of vehicles at various damage locations. These vehicles are staffed with gas workers, meter readers, and standby personnel who are assisting the restoration effort by keeping the public away from downed wires and other electrical equipment while line crews are making repairs at other locations.

  • There currently is no shortage of materials. However, this is an incredible restoration job so we continue to seek materials so we can be covered in case the damage in some areas turns out to be greater than anticipated. FEMA has offered to get materials for us and we will take advantage of that offer.

  • Crews are working 16-hour days, with mandated rest periods and meal breaks.

  • We have brought four additional substations back in operation in the last 24 hours, restoring power to roughly 17,000 customers in the Bayonne area.  We have one substation left out of service (also in Bayonne) and hope to have it back in service today.  This will complete the most extensive substation restoration project in the company’s history.  We are extremely grateful to the more than 100 out-of-state substation experts who traveled here from around the nation to help with these efforts.  We continue to work to restore distribution lines that were impacted by the storm surge. 

  • PSE&G has secured an additional 600 line workers who are being redirected from Pennsylvania, bringing the total to more than 4,600 workers on the ground helping restore power to our customers. 

  • PSE&G is also extremely appreciative of the outpouring of support for our injured lineman who continues to make progress toward recovery.  Crews from out-of-state passed the hat and collected several thousand dollars to support his family – this was a spontaneous and heartfelt action by people working 16 hours a day far from home.  It has deeply touched our company. 

  • In another example of the out-of-state workers going beyond just restoring power, three workers (Clay Maxley, Sr, Warren Simmons, Kenneth Simmons – a father and son team) from On Power Energy (a Punta Gorda, Florida company) spotted smoke coming from a house.  They banged on the door, warning two teenage boys to leave the house with their dog moments before fire ripped through the house.  

  • Since the start of the storm, PSE&G call centers have handled more than 1.9 million calls (more than 12 times the normal volume).  We have suspended non-emergency work so that more workers are available to respond to customer calls.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION FOR CUSTOMERS USING GENERATORS AT HOME
We are reading media reports about people who have become ill or died from carbon monoxide poisoning or fires resulting from the use of generators in their homes. Anyone using portable electric generators must be sure to carefully read and follow the manual that came with the generator. Be sure your generator is UL-approved, installed by a licensed electrician and inspected by your local electrical inspector. There must be a way to physically disconnect your generator from utility lines. Generators should not be operated inside a dwelling or building. Customers who improperly install, operate or maintain a generator are risking their lives and the lives of their neighbors and utility workers.

Some frequently ask Questions from our customers: 

Q.  Why are my neighbors back and I’m not? 
A.  Homes very near to each other can be fed from different circuits.  One of them may be damaged and not the other. It’s also possible that one part of a circuit is damaged while other sections are not. Circuits from a station usually have two sections. If one section is damaged, we can open a breaker to stop the flow of electricity to that section while keeping the other section in service.

Q. I hardly ever lose power. Why am I out now? 
A. These are conditions we haven’t experienced in decades. Damage to switching stations, the backbone of the system, was extensive, and there were unusual amounts of damage to the transmission lines that bring power to the distribution system. If there is no power to their feeder station then their particular circuit will have no power. This storm also took an unusually high number of trees down, greatly increasing the number of customers affected and the amount of time it takes to bring power back.

Q. Why don’t I see anyone working on this? 
A. We have to fix the transmission and substation issues first, or no power will flow to the circuits that serve you.  Much of the work that goes into getting your power back is done out of sight.  We have unprecedented amounts of tree damage that caused many circuit faults. Once we have transmission and substations restored, we prioritize jobs that involve critical infrastructure (such as hospitals and police stations) and those that have the most number of customers affected. With damage this severe, it is taking time but we are working our way through that process.

Q. Why don’t you know when my power will be back?
A.
  Under normal circumstances we know how long it takes to respond to reports of problems and restore service. This is not your average storm. Hurricane Sandy has caused twice the damage as Hurricane Irene.  This means that even assessing the damage is slow, with new information constantly filling in the picture of the conditions that need to be addressed. We’ve also continued to bring additional out-of-state crews to help, and move them around to the areas they are needed most. 


Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) is New Jersey’s oldest and largest regulated gas and electric delivery utility, serving nearly three-quarters of the state’s population. PSE&G is the winner of the Reliability One Award for superior electric system reliability. PSE&G is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PSEG) (NYSE:PEG), a diversified energy company (www.pseg.com).  

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