By Tony Aiello

HARRIMAN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)Orange County faces an ice storm warning, bringing worries about ice taking down power lines.

As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Monday, the winter has delivered more than its share of cold and ice, with still more on the way, threatening power outages.

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“I just hope I don’t lose everything in the freezer,” said Monroe resident Joan Nugent.

“Charge your phone in the car,” said Jerry Smith.

“I got everything set up. Gas, the generator, we’re all hooked up,” said Collin Papish.

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The staff at the Orange County Emergency Services Center is nervously watching the forecast, and waiting for the inevitable problems.

“This really taxes our emergency services and the utilities to come out and fix these things, because we have multiple incidents at once usually during the typical ice storm,” said Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus.

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Orange County’s three major utility companies will have a seat in the command center if things get bad enough to justify opening it.

When icy tree limbs take down power lines, Neuhaus is counting on utilities to give accurate restoration times to customers.


“So people know, ‘Should I get a hotel room?’ If I’m getting more power back in 12 hours, I can deal with that. If it’s gonna be a few days I might look at alternative ways to do it,” Neuhaus said.

Orange & Rockland Utilities say it’s contracted with 100 extra workers from Pennsylvania, beefing up its storm response by 70% versus normal staffing.

“It’s a way for us to put a little more punch into our response in the event that we have any widespread outages,” said Mike Donovan of Orange & Rockland Utilities.

Donovan said an ice storm is the bane of every utility company’s existence. Icy roads affect response times and slippery conditions make the dangerous work around power lines even more so.

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The utility says if a line comes down near you assume it is live and dangerous.

Tony Aiello