High Winds Cause Outages and Severe Damage
- Stay away from downed power lines even lines that appear dead can be deadly.
- NYSEG customers should call 800.572.1131 to report downed power lines or other hazardous situations; RG&E customers should call 800.743.1701.
Downed trees and power lines cause power outages to more than 125,000 customers.
Rochester, NY – High winds across the western New York area have caused widespread damage and power outages in both the NYSEG and RG&E service areas. More than 91,000 RG&E customers are without power this afternoon. More than 36,000 NYSEG customers are also out. Monroe and Erie Counties are the hardest hit areas.
NYSEG and RG&E crews are working to de-energize downed lines and equipment damaged by the storm for public safety. The high winds, which are forecast to continue at least through the evening, also present a safety concern for field crews, and in many cases damage assessment and restoration work will be delayed until the winds subside. The companies will provide estimated restoration times once conditions ease to allow for a better assessment of the damage, however, the companies advise all customers who lose power to prepare for outages at least through the night, and customers in many areas may be without power for multiple days.
“Our personnel throughout the company were on alert and ready for this storm, and we have also brought in additional crews. Our immediate focus is on public safety, the safety of our crews, and damage assessment as conditions permit,” said Mark S. Lynch, president of NYSEG and RG&E.
NYSEG and RG&E encourage customers to sign up for Outage Alerts to receive updates automatically by phone, text, or email as the company updates the status of the restoration process in their area. This information is also available online at NYSEG Outage informaton or List of Electricity Outages.
Power Restoration Priorities
NYSEG’s and RG&E’s first priorities are to respond to known incidents of downed power lines to make the situations safe. (NYSEG customers are asked to call 800.572.1131 to report downed wires. RG&E customers are asked to call 800.743.1701.) Once this vital public safety work is complete, the company will:
- Assess the damage to the electricity delivery system.
- Develop a detailed restoration plan.
- Make repairs as quickly as possible.
Restoring Power Following Major Storms
We first repair the backbone of the electricity system – transmission lines and substations – that bring electricity to the local distribution system that serves our customers. We then make any necessary repairs to the distribution system that includes the poles and power lines along streets and roads, focusing first on those circuits where we can restore power to the largest number of customers. As part of this process, we take into account the needs of hospitals, nursing homes, fire and police stations, as well as any other critical infrastructure. This is a time-proven process that ensures we safely restore service as quickly and efficiently as possible.
NYSEG and RG&E offer the following reminders:
During a Power Interruption
- Contact neighbors to see if their power is off. A loss of power may be the result of a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker.
- To report a power interruption, contact NYSEG at 800.572.1131 or RG&E at 800.743.1701. Our telephone systems let callers report the problem, help our crews respond quickly and efficiently, and provide customers with power interruption updates. Because many people may be trying to reach us during a power interruption, phone lines may be busy. Anyone who has access to a working computer or mobile device during a power interruption can also report the interruption online at nyseg.com or rge.com.
- Listen to a battery-powered radio for weather and power restoration updates.
- Turn off major appliances (electric water heaters, refrigerators and freezers) and sensitive electronic equipment (TVs, VCRs, DVD players, computers, audio equipment) to prevent overloading and possible damage when power is restored. Turning off this equipment may mean unplugging it, turning off a circuit breaker or removing a fuse for the circuit that provides power to this equipment. Leave one light switch “on” to know when power has been restored.
- Don’t use a natural gas or propane range to heat your home.
- Never use outdoor grills or stoves inside.
- Keep refrigerators and freezers closed as much as possible. Most food will last 24 hours if you minimize the opening of refrigerator and freezer doors.
After Power Is Restored
- If a basement or home was flooded, customers should have an electrician check the home and have a plumbing and heating contractor check natural gas appliances before contacting NYSEG or RG&E to have services turned on.
- Turn on appliances and sensitive electronic equipment one at a time to avoid overloading circuits.
- Replenish emergency supplies used during the storm.
Additional storm safety information is available at nyseg.com or rge.com (click on “Outage Central” and then on “Storm Safety”).