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.
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 by 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.