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January 31, 2011
PSE&G Prepares for Winter Storm
Provides Tips for Customers
NEWARK – Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), New Jersey's largest electric and gas utility, is closely monitoring weather conditions and has its crews on standby now that the National Weather Service has issued winter storm watches and warnings for portions of New Jersey. Snow is predicted to begin after midnight and continue through Tuesday morning before mixing with or changing to rain, freezing rain and sleet Tuesday afternoon. The wintry mix is expected to continue until Wednesday evening. Two to five inches of snow and a quarter- to half-inch of ice accumulation are possible in some areas.
PSE&G will have extra personnel and supplies on hand to assure that electric and gas storm-related emergencies are handled safely and promptly.
Snow, by itself, does not pose a serious problem for utilities, but heavy snow or icing can increase the possibility of downed wires and associated power outages. Cars striking utility poles can also cause wires to come down. And cold weather can affect the number of calls we receive from customers with insufficient or no heat.
PSE&G uses an automated system to handle customer calls as efficiently as possible. Customers who get an automated response when calling PSE&G should not hesitate to use it, as it is designed to route their calls to the right destinations. The system also provides the option to speak directly to a customer service representative. Customers are asked to use this option if they are calling to report damage to wires, transformers or poles. This will help PSE&G to restore power more quickly. Depending on the severity of a winter storm, response times for both electric and gas emergency services may be longer than usual.
In anticipation of possible storm conditions, PSE&G offers the following tips:
DOWNED POWER LINES
Accumulation of ice 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.
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.
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.
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.
Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G) is New Jersey’s oldest and largest regulated gas and electric delivery utility, serving nearly three-quarters of the state’s population. PSE&G is the winner of the ReliabilityOne National Achievement Award for superior electric system reliability. PSE&G is a subsidiary of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PSEG) (NYSE:PEG), a diversified energy company (www.pseg.com).