Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), New Jersey’s largest electric and gas utility, is preparing for more wintry weather that is expected to bring a mix of snow, sleet and ice through Thursday morning, according to current weather forecasts.
PSE&G has all available personnel on hand today to deal with any weather-related outages due to the heavy snowfall and is taking similar precautions tomorrow when another weather system is expected to affect our service territory.
These steps include:
· Ensuring that all available personnel are ready to respond
· Arranging for contractors, including tree crews, to assist the utility’s own skilled workforce
· Ensuring that additional supplies, such as poles, transformers and other pole-top equipment, are on hand
· Fueling all vehicles
· Testing generators at utility locations
· Coordinating with county and municipal emergency management personnel to inform them of outages and expedite restoration efforts.
While snow usually isn’t an issue for utilities, the possibility of sleet and ice can increase the likelihood of downed wires and resulting power outages. Vehicles striking utility poles can also cause wires to come down.
DOWNED POWER LINES
Accumulation of ice and heavy snow may weigh down power lines and as a result cause power lines to come down. Downed wires may appear dead but should always be considered “live.” STAY AWAY FROM ALL DOWNED LINES. Do not approach or drive over a downed line and do not touch anything that it might be in contact with. Parents are urged to check for downed wires in areas where their children might play and to remind the children to stay far away from any wires. If a wire falls on a vehicle, passengers should stay in the vehicle until help arrives. To report a downed wire, call 1-800-436-PSEG and tell PSE&G the nearest cross street.
IF YOU LOSE POWER
First check your neighborhood. If you are the only one without power, check your fuse box for tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses. If that’s not the problem, look outside at the wire between your house and the utility pole. If it is down, report it immediately to PSE&G.
To report downed wires or power outages, customers should call PSE&G’s Customer Service line at 1-800-436-PSEG. PSE&G uses an automated system to handle customer calls as efficiently as possible. Customers who get an automated response when calling PSE&G are encouraged to use it, as it is designed to route their calls to the right destination quickly. The system also provides the option to speak directly to a customer service representative. If you have specific information regarding damage to wires, transformers or poles, we ask that you speak with a representative to provide that information.
Customers with a handheld device, or who are at an alternate location with power, can also report power outages and view the status of their outage by logging in to My Account on pseg.com, PSE&G’s mobile-friendly website.
General outage activity throughout our service territory is available online at www.pseg.com/outagecenter and updates are posted on pseg.com during severe weather.
The utility’s Twitter page also keeps the public informed about our restoration progress. Sign up as a follower at http://twitter.com/psegdelivers to monitor restoration progress. Customers also can register for text and email alerts at pseg.com/myaccount
KEEP YOUR GAS METER AND APPLIANCE VENTS CLEAR OF SNOW AND ICE
You can help keep your natural gas supply flowing by keeping your meter free of snow and ice. If you are a natural gas customer whose gas meter is on the outside of your home or business, please take the following precautions:
• Clear snowdrifts away from the meter and piping.
• Do not pile snow on top of the gas meter or around its connecting piping when you are shoveling your premises.
• Brush snow from the meter and piping before a thick layer of ice builds up.
• Clear snow from dryer vents to prevent fumes from backing up into your house.
IF YOUR METERS ARE SCHEDULED TO BE READ
While we always try to obtain an actual reading, occasionally it’s necessary to estimate a reading to ensure the safety of our employees during inclement weather. Ways that you can help us keep our employees safe and avoid estimated bills:
• Ensure walkways and entrance ways are cleared of snow and ice.
• Ensure a clear pathway to the meter.
• Secure pets while meters are being read.
• Utilize our Record-a-Reading option or enter your reading on-line via the PSE&G website on www.pseg.com/meter.
WHEN YOU DRIVE PAST OUR WORKSITES OR VEHICLES
Please slow down and be alert when driving past a PSE&G roadwork jobsite, especially in snowy, icy weather. Driving too fast can endanger employees and hamper their ability to perform important work. PSE&G crews use work area protection – traffic cones, utility work signs and flaggers – to protect them and to allow them to do their jobs safely. Follow safe driving techniques to prevent fender-benders or more serious collisions that could delay our service technicians as they respond to customer calls or emergencies.
CUSTOMERS WITH LIFE-SUSTAINING EQUIPMENT
Individuals who rely on electricity to operate life-sustaining electronic equipment, such as a respirator or dialysis machine, should pre-register with PSE&G to receive priority attention in the event of an outage. To request the service, call PSE&G at 1-800-436-PSEG. They should also inform their rescue squads and fire departments of their needs, in case of emergency. Even though customers with life-sustaining equipment who have registered with PSE&G will receive priority attention during outages, they should also have emergency back-up equipment on hand, since immediate restoration cannot be guaranteed.
Mother Nature can be unpredictable. It’s wise to have an emergency kit on hand year round. Here are some things to include:
· A battery powered radio.
· A corded telephone. (Cordless phones will not work if the power is out.)
· Flashlights and extra fresh batteries.
· A first-aid kit.
· Bottled water and an adequate supply of non-perishable food.
· A non-electric can opener.
· Matches and candles with holders.
· Extra blankets and sleeping bags.
· A list of emergency phone numbers, including PSE&G’s Customer Service line: 1-800-436-PSEG. Call this number to report power outages or downed wires.