Power Outage Updates for Central Jersey

PSE&G Restoration Update – November 3, 2012 8 p.m.

The last 12 hours have been very productive. We’ve energized an additional eight substations since our report this morning. Those stations serve parts of Jersey City, Hoboken, Union City, West New York, Weehawken, Plainfield, North Bergen, Carteret, Linden, Metuchen, Union Township and Woodbridge. Power was immediately restored to some neighborhoods in these towns; in others cases, there are additional repairs that need to be made to the local distribution system before power comes back.

While we have restored power to many neighborhoods, it should be noted that we sometimes have to temporarily disrupt service so that workers can safely repair nearby circuits.

The significant progress we’ve made on the transmission system means we’re now increasingly focusing our efforts on our distribution system. This means that our work will be more visible in your neighborhood.

And, we’ll have more help. Tomorrow we will have additional feet on the ground and more trucks rolling through New Jersey’s streets. Another 600 workers will be joining the more than 3,000 linemen and tree contractors already working in our area. The federal government is flying some of these workers and their equipment from California into McGuire Air Force Base, located near Trenton.

Our biggest challenge is in Hoboken, where our stations were submersed in more than 3 feet of water. It took several days for this water to recede. Much of the equipment was corroded by salt water and needs extensive work. We have more than 100 out-of-state workers who specialize in substation repairs, many of whom are concentrating their efforts in Hoboken.

PSE&G is working with FEMA to get large-scale generators from the federal government to key spots in the city to provide relief to residents.

In response to a request from the Governor’s office, PSE&G released a list today of where it will focus resources in the next three days. The list reflects our most current plans, prioritizing repairs to equipment that can get the largest number of customers restored first. While the boxes marked with an “x” indicate that there will be significant activity and progress made in specific towns, it does not guarantee that every customer’s service will be restored. It should be regarded as a guide. This storm event and our work to assess, repair and restore power is a fluid situation. Plans may change and resources may be redirected given unexpected damage and conditions.

“We understand that this is hard on our customers – it is also hard on our employees, who live in almost every town we serve,” said Ralph LaRossa, president and chief operating officer of PSE&G. “We appreciate the patience our customers are showing and the words of encouragement being offered to our employees and the thousands who have come from around the country to help us restore power. Please understand that this is dangerous work. We need to be focused on thoroughly, carefully and safely restoring power. Please do not distract our employee from the task at hand.”

PSE&G’s mobile Customer Service Centers: To provide relief to communities particularly hard hit by the storm, PSE&G has established mobile Customer Service Centers (CSCs). These locations are providing ice, drinking water and power strips for recharging devices at no cost. Food is being given out at our centers in Newark, Jersey City and Hoboken. In Jersey City tomorrow we will have tankers of fresh drinking water, rather than bottles. Customers will need to bring containers to fill. The company has representatives at these centers to provide customers with information about our efforts to restore power. The current list of mobile CSCs is as follows.

Town Location Hours of Ops
Hoboken CVS Parking Lot 59 Washington Ave. 24/7
Moonachie Red Neck Grove(John Stevens Baseball Field) 8-9p.m.
Paramus Paramus Park Mall 8-9p.m.
Jersey City Westside and Claremont Ave 8-4p.m.
Newark St James Church Parking Lot (Elm St and Madison St) 8-4p.m.

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.


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