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Con Edison Media Relations
For Immediate Release: March 15, 2010
8:00 p.m.

Evening Update

CON EDISON RESTORING CUSTOMERS AFTER WORST STORM IN DECADES

NEW YORK – Hundreds of Con Edison, contractor, and out-of-state utility crews, plus thousands of company support personnel, are continuing to work around the clock to counter effects of the most destructive rain and wind storm to hit the New York area in memory.  

The company expects to have all storm-related outages in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx restored by Wednesday afternoon, followed by Staten Island on Thursday evening, and Westchester on Friday.

With the ground softened by a huge snowstorm two weeks ago, an ugly mix of over four inches of rain and winds of up to 70 m.p.h. combined to knock trees over like matchsticks over the weekend, felling power lines and complicating clearance efforts, especially in Westchester County and Staten Island.

Over 173,000 lost power, easily eclipsing the outages caused by Hurricane Gloria in 1985, which affected 110,515 customers. 

As of 8 p.m. tonight, the company had restored power to over 100,000 customers. Approximately 70,000 customers remained without power: 55,000 in Westchester County, 9,000 in Staten Island, 3,700 in the Bronx, 1,470 in Queens and 650 in Brooklyn.

Con Edison distributed 31,500 pounds of dry ice at four different locations today, and will resume distribution tomorrow (Tuesday) from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Utilities from Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky and Massachusetts are assisting Con Edison’s crews. 

Con Edison has approximately 500 restoration crews now in the field, in addition to other field support personnel clearing roads and trees.  The number of restoration crews is expected to grow to 675 by Wednesday as additional out-of-state crews arrive.

Con Edison has additional customer service representatives, electrical and construction crews, along with tree-clearing crews working around the clock to respond to customers and power outages that may occur.

Customers are urged to call Con Edison immediately to report any outages at 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633). Customers can also report power interruptions or service problems at www.conEd.com and on their cell phones and PDAs.  When reporting an outage, customers should have their Con Edison account number available, if possible, and report whether their neighbors also have lost power.

Customers who have already reported their outage need not call Con Edison again.  They will be called by Con Edison when their estimated restoration time has been established.

During the restoration process, primary distribution feeders are restored first, with the highest priority given to restoring lines that supply the most customers.  Next, the crews fix secondary facilities, such as transformers and secondary cables, again with highest priority given to lines supplying the greatest number of customers.  Individual services, lines serving a single home, will be restored as crews become available.

Con Edison offers the following tips to prepare for a storm:

  • If you see downed electrical wires, do not go near them.  Treat all downed wires as if they are live.  Never attempt to move or touch them with any object.  Be mindful that downed wires can be hidden from view by tree limbs, leaves or water.  Report all downed wires to Con Edison and your local police department immediately.  If a power line falls on your car while you’re in it, stay inside the vehicle and wait for emergency personnel.
  • If your power goes out, turn off all lights and appliances to prevent overloaded circuits when power is restored.  Leave at least one light switch in the on position to alert you when power has been restored.
  • Check to make sure your flashlights and any battery-operated radios or televisions are in working order. Use candles and oil lamps with care.  Also, make sure you have a supply of extra batteries.  Weather updates and news on restorations of electrical service can be heard on most local radio and television stations.
  • Avoid opening your freezer to see if food is still frozen.  Every time you open the door, room-temperature air enters and speeds the thawing process.  Most fully loaded freezers will keep food frozen for approximately 36 to 48 hours; half-full freezers will keep food frozen for approximately 24 hours.
The company is maintaining close contact with the New York City Office of Emergency Management and the Westchester County Department of Emergency Services to coordinate storm response as necessary.

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