NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Utilities are taking every precaution to try to prevent widespread power outages as a major winter storm bears down on the Tri-State Area.
A blizzard warning is in effect through 1 p.m. Saturday for New York City, Long Island, northeastern New Jersey, all of Connecticut and southern Westchester County.
Heavy snow and strong winds could knock down trees and power lines.
The embattled Long Island Power Authority is turning over control to subcontractor National Grid for the first time in its history after facing criticism for its response during Hurricane Sandy, when 90 percent of homes serviced by the utility lost power for days.
National Grid is securing hundreds of extra crews and support personnel, saying the storm could result in a significant number of potentially prolonged electrical outages.
“We have all Long Island and downstate employees activated for restoration duty,” said National Grid President John Bruckner. “What that means is we have canceled all vacations. We will have full staff, on the ground, around the clock coverage, throughout this event.”
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said LIPA and National Grid are anticipating 100,000 outages, but are much more prepared and positioned to respond to the outages than during Sandy.
“I’m cheering them on that they get our residents’ power on as quickly as possible. I’m going to remain optimistic,” he told 1010 WINS.
Con Edison crews will be giving priority to restoring service lines that will provide power to the most customers as quickly as possible. They’ll then move on to restore smaller groups and individual customers who are without power.
“We’re looking at areas certainly with a lot of overhead service. We’re concerned about the high winds, so we’re staffing up with site assessors and damage assessors in the areas that are most affected,” spokesman Bob McGee said. “We’ve got our crews at the ready.”
Con Ed is mobilizing hundreds of company crews and out-of-state personnel to respond to any outages.
Crews will make restorations as weather conditions permit and as roads become cleared of snow and fallen trees.
Customers can report downed power lines, outages and check service restoration status by computer or mobile device at http://www.coned.com/ReportOutage. They can also call 1-800-75-CONED (1-800-752-6633).
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In New Jersey, PSE&G is also getting ahead of the storm, advising customers to have emergency supplies, including flashlights and batteries, on hand.
“We’re as ready as we can be,” spokesperson Christine Snodgrass said. “We have all available personnel on hand ready to respond. We also have extra contractors and that includes tree crews that are ready to assist our workforce, and we have extra equipment stockpiled.”
Out-of-state crews have not been brought in.
“We still have that option, so we’re going to be examining that today as the weather develops,” Snodgrass said.
Jersey City Power & Light is calling in more than 115 extra crews from out of state in case of widespread outages. They have been stationed strategically in service territories where the utility expects the highest amounts of snowfall.
“We have all of our employees prepared to engage around the clock efforts should there be power outages,” JCP&L spokesman Ron Morano told 1010 WINS.
Connecticut Light & Power has 400 linemen for the storm, with out-of-state support on standby.