Know what to expect if you lose power

At any given moment there are roughly 2,000 thunderstorms happening in the world, according to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. In New Jersey, we get many severe storms in the summer – including tropical storms and hurricanes. PSE&G prepares year-round to keep your power on, even when challenged by storms, yet there are two important things our customers can do: 1. Prepare before a storm hits (read our storm safety tips); and, 2. Know what to expect from PSE&G if you do lose power.

If you lose power

If you lose power, report the outage – every time. Don’t assume we know your power is out even if you see a crew working in your area. The sooner you report the outage, the sooner we can schedule it for repair. You can find estimated restoration times for your area by using our outage map.

When you lose power, even if you realize we’re working as safely and quickly as possible to restore it, you may grow impatient or frustrated by the wait. It’s helpful to know how we schedule repairs and why some take longer than others.

Safety first

Safety is one of our highest priorities. As such we cannot permit PSE&G lineworkers to use bucket trucks, which assist in reaching overhead wires, when winds are above 35 mph. Sometimes our crews cannot get to our equipment due to other factors – some of which are obvious, such as a tree blocking a road, while others may not be – such as a downed wire that remains energized. Working during storms is dangerous, and our crews rely upon safety protocols and procedures and regular training to ensure their own safety and the safety of others.

Please don’t get upset if you see an employee or crew “standing around” as they are likely awaiting safety clearance.

Order of restoration

During a widespread outage, it makes sense first to restore high-priority facilities that serve many others including: hospitals, nursing homes, police and fire stations, power plants, substations and water and sewage treatment facilities. Next, our crews are sent to the locations that can get the most customers back on in the shortest period of time.

Backyard restoration

Speedy restoration also depends on where our utility poles are placed. In most cases they run along the street so our bucket trucks can easily reach them. In some cases the power lines and utility poles are in your backyard. When poles are in backyards, the restoration process is labor-intensive. Our crews have to climb the poles and if we have to replace a pole we have to order special equipment. While restorations may take longer, just know that we are working hard until your power is back up and running.

Nested outages

Have you ever received notice from us that your power has been restored when your power was still out? That’s because our crews restored the whole neighborhood, but your house is experiencing what we call a ‘nested outage.’ A nested outage is a more localized issue, which means there is likely equipment failure right at your house — whether it be a blown fuse or a tree hanging on your home’s direct power line. We are not aware of all nested outages, so it is important that you respond to us saying that your power is still out.

Mutual aid assistance

Our goal is to restore service as safely and quickly as possible, which is why we participate in a network of mutual aid. Mutual aid allows us to request skilled help from other New Jersey providers and from utilities all over North America. While crews dealing with similar circumstances, such as the effects of a hurricane, may not be available, we call for mutual aid when we know the damage may take days to restore – to give other crews time to travel to us.

A note about the pandemic

The safety of PSE&G’s customers and employees is our top priority. We ask that customers remain in their homes while crews are working nearby. If customers must speak with our crews, we ask that they practice responsible “physical distancing” and remain at least 6 feet away to ensure the health of everyone involved. For more information about how PSE&G continues to live up to its commitments during the pandemic, please visit: https://nj.pseg.com/safetyandreliability/safetytips/coronavirus.

Lauren Ugorji, Lead Writer - PSE&G


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