Storm’s Here, Lights Out: Now what?

During severe storms, falling tree limbs, lightning strikes and high winds can wreak havoc on the electric distribution grid. With widespread outages, it takes time to rebuild the network – and rebuild is an accurate term.

The first step in the restoration process is ensuring the safety of the public and our employees. Not a single service will be restored until we are certain our working men and women have a safe work environment. That often means that a storm must pass before crews are able to even begin to assess the damage.

After ensuring safety, the complex process of power restoration begins. The power grid, from its origin at the generating station to your home or business, is an intricate, interconnected set of wires that transport large volumes of electricity through transformers that “step down” the high voltage from transmission lines, to the low voltage electricity you use in your home.

Most people, shortest time

Restoration plans following outages are designed to get power back on to the most people in the shortest time. Restoring power to critical facilities, including hospitals, police departments, fire stations, water treatment, petroleum, other public health and safety facilities is “critical,” so they are the first focus of restoration.

After critical facilities are back online, the order in which repairs are made follows the path that electricity takes as it comes from the power plants to the customer.
Our crews begin with the primary lines that can restore power to thousands of people. Then they move to lateral lines that can affect hundreds; secondary lines that restore dozens; and finally to service lines to individual homes. This is why homes in the same neighborhood can be restored at different times, and why businesses are sometimes restored first, because of their high traffic locations along primary lines.


Report, report, report

Never assume PSE&G is aware of your outage because your entire street is without power. We urge customers to report all outages – because it helps in planning the restoration process.

During a post-storm, large outage event, our call centers can experience a high call volume, so we encourage customers to report outages though our mobile app, logging on to My Account on www.pseg.com, or texting “OUT” to 4PSEG. Of course, customers also have the option of PSE&G’s Customer Service line at 1-800-436-PSEG. See all of the ways to connect with us during a storm, here.

While large scale outages are rare, we take great pride in the skill and dedication of our employees. Before, during and after severe weather events, they work around the clock for their customers – often leaving behind their families who are without power as well.

Our goal is to keep the lights on for everyone, all of the time. But if you do experience an outage, please know that behind the scenes, our processes, procedures, training and skilled employees will get electricity flowing back to your home as quickly and safely as possible.

John A. Bridges- Vice President Electrical Operations, PSE&G

John A. Bridges, Vice President, Electric Operations - PSE&G


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  • Why is this happening the grid here is third world standard. It should be underground like in other civilised nations. I can’t believe what I am looking at when I drive around the streets here will cables all hanging from tilting wooden posts. I never saw such a thing growing up even in the 1970s in the UK. And you are leaving us open to manmade attacks also.

    The view form my house in ruined, the company I work for relies on a steady electricity supply for normal ops is being hampered.

    This is a National and Local disgrace.

  • “During a post-storm, large outage event, our call centers can become taxed, so we encourage customers to report outages by logging on to My Account on http://www.pseg.com,”
    If there is a power outage, what do you want us to plug our pcs into to go online, a tree? :/

  • I agree that the grid should be underground-a street at a time. The million dollar a mile will be a one time charge. PSE&G and the public will not have to shell out money every time a big storm hots. PSE&G can map out a strategy based on historical data, as to which streets and neighborhoods get hit hardest by outages and convert them to an underground mode of transmission. One has to also consider lost revenue during an outage. The State should not agree to a rate revision or help PSE&G financially at taxpayer expense for repairs to an overground grid after a storm–this will be another incentive for PSE&G to brig their distribution system up to date.

  • I tried to report an outage today with no luck. There is a don d power line pole and tree in the middl of the road at the end of my block. Both your txt service and online log an outage system we broken and I waited an hour on the phone and nothing epic fail on your part. Might as well not have an 800 number. Too bad you have a monopoly or we would all switch. It’s out ragout that you treat your customers so poorly

  • I like the service I get from PSE&G. I like the people, and I think they do a pretty good job of getting things done. That would include supplying energy, keeping the price down, maintaining the system, improving the system, and fixing things after an outage. (And “NO! I have no connection to PSE&G other than being a customer). PSE&G – Keep up the great work!

  • Stop Over pruning the trees next to the lines . Sometimes over pruning is killing the trees or making the tree less stable in these heavy winds . Look I’m not saying all those trees wouldn’t have fallen but I do see this as being a wake up call . PS Good job getting to those downed lines . Stay Safe

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