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Frequently Asked Questions

Please browse some of our most frequently asked questions regarding the storm restoration process.

Q.  How long will my power be out?
A. PSE&G crews are working around the clock to safely restore power to all customers as quickly as possible. When there’s severe damage to our equipment and/or facilities, customers should be prepared to be wit hout power for an extended time.

Q.  Why does every customer need to report their power outage?
A.  Your report helps us understand the magnitude of the problem and direct resources to address it.  Without a call, PSE&G may not know that a customer is out of power. 

Q.  My neighbor already reported the outage. Why do I need to report my outage, too?
A.  Your issue may or may not be related to the tree that’s lying atop wires at the end of the street.  Different parts of neighborhoods may be fed from different circuits, and you may have additional damage at your location. It’s critical that every customer individually reports their outage.  If you report your outage through My Account and register for e-mail or text messages through MyAlerts, you can get progress updates sent to you.

Q.  Why are you telling everyone the same restoration date?
A.  During the early stages in a storm, we establish a ‘Storm ETR’, or ‘Global ETR’. This is an estimate of when all customers in our territory are expected to be restored.  Once the full extent of the damage is known, the ETR may change. Customers who have requested a callback will be notified if the ETR changes by more than 2 hours in either direction. Those customers will also be notified when our system indicates their power has been restored.  Because there could be additional damage affecting a customer’s service, it’s critical that customers call back and let us know if they are still without power. 

Q.  Why don’t you know when I’ll be back in service?
A.  Under normal conditions, we know how long it takes to respond to reports of problems and restore service. With severe storm conditions, we must determine where our equipment is damaged. The amount of time it will take to begin working on a specific job may not be known, especially until a full assessment of the damage is done. 

Q.  How does the restoration process work?
A.  Our crews work to restore power to the largest numbers of customers first, taking into account “priority customers” such as hospitals, police and fire stations, water and sewer facilities, communications facilities (TV, radio and telephone), and customers on life-sustaining medical equipment.  We then focus on restoring power to homes and businesses, starting with the circuits with the largest numbers of customers.

Q.  Why does my neighbor have power and I don’t?
A.  Your neighbor may be on a different circuit or they may have their own generator.

Q.  Why does it take so long to restore homes with backyard service?
A.  Repairs often take longer due to the inability to access utility poles and equipment in backyards.  This means our linemen must climb poles to install equipment, set poles by hand digging, and run service wires to homes without the use of aerial lifts and other equipment that speeds repairs.

Q.  Why aren’t the lines all buried underground?
A.  Burying existing power lines is extremely expensive and disruptive to communities.  Homes built since the 1970s generally have underground services. However, even if lines are buried, outages can still occur – and restoration takes much longer than repairing overhead lines.

Q.  Several different workers have come and no one has actually fixed my power yet. What is the problem?
A.  In most cases, the first worker to a damage location is a “look-up” person, or damage assessor, whose job is to report the extent of the damage. This is done to ensure the proper crew with the proper equipment and supplies are assigned to make the repair.

Q.  Why are there PSE&G crews sitting in their trucks while my power is still out?
A.  The crews may be waiting for the circuit to be made safe for them to begin repair work. They may also be on a rest/meal break. You may also see PSE&G employees standing by downed wires or performing damage assessment. These employees are not qualified to work on the lines, but are there to ensure the safety of the public and to identify problems.

Q.  Why did I lose power after it was already restored?
A.  If you’ve lost power after it was already restored, this means there was an additional problem on your circuit, such as a newly fallen tree limb that required additional work.  We may have had to temporarily de-energize the circuit to make repairs safely.

Q.  There are trucks from a lot of other companies in the area, but where are your trucks?
A.  During major storms, we supplement our workforce with crews from other utilities and with contractor crews.  During these circumstances, all of our line forces are assigned storm restoration work.

Q.  Will PSE&G remove the tree that has fallen on my property?
A.  PSE&G will cut away tree debris to restore power to your home and make it safe. You are responsible for having the tree and/or debris removed.

Q.  Will PSE&G fix the service wire that is torn from my house?
A.  Yes, if it is part of the PSE&G infrastructure. If it is a service cable or pipe, PSE&G will make it temporarily safe and re-energize it. You’re responsible to have an electrician make permanent repairs.

Q.  My television blew out during the storm. Will PSE&G pay for it?
A.  If you feel PSE&G is responsible for your personal equipment damage, please call 1-800-CLAIM-88 to submit a claim.

Q.  My phone and cable also are out. Will PSE&G notify the companies?  
A. No. You must call your phone and/or cable company to report the outage.

Q.  Will food spoil in my refrigerator?
A.  This depends on how long you’re without power and how often you open the refrigerator and/or freezer door. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for a few hours. A freezer will hold food safely for 24 to 48 hours.  

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