Utilities prep through weekend for Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy pre-mobilization efforts underway in anticipation of storm; customers urged to put safety first.

Washington—The Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the association of U.S. shareholder-owned electric companies and its member companies have been working throughout the weekend to anticipate the course of a very uncertain storm. Many utility companies in the storm’s projected path have begun the process of pre-mobilizing thousands of storm and field personnel, and are calling upon extra workers and resources from all across the country through the industry’s Mutual Assistance Network.

As the AP reported, “The storm that is threatening 60 million Americans in the eastern third of the nation in just a couple of days with persistent high winds, drenching rains, extreme tides, flooding and probably snow is much more than just an ordinary weather system. It's a freakish and unprecedented monster.”

As many as 10 states along the eastern seaboard, including Virginia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, as well as, Washington, DC have already declared states of emergency. Additionally, New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Connecticut respectively have already announced evacuations in certain parts of their states.

“We strongly urge customers to prepare for the possibility of extended outages due to the enormity of Hurricane Sandy, which forecasters predict may become the worst storm to hit the Northeast in 100 years,” said Brian Wolff, EEI Senior Vice President. “Member companies have been pre-mobilizing thousands of storm and field personnel, calling on extra workers and resources from across the country in anticipation of this extended, slow-moving major weather event that is expected to devastate the electric system for days. Customers need to put safety first and take advance precautions should Hurricane Sandy disrupt service in their area and check their latest local weather forecasts."

The EEI Storm Center site continues to be updated with safety tips, links to customers’ own electricity providers’ outage centers, real-time information and updates on storm preparation and restoration progress. EEI also encourages utility customers to follow EEI’s social media sites Twitter and Facebook.

Just as the power companies prepare for severe weather and the possibility of power outages, EEI wants to remind power customers the importance of preparing for storms and other emergency situations. Be Safe, Be Informed.

If a severe storm is approaching:
• Visit your local electric company’s Web site for the latest updates and guidance on how to prepare for storms.
• Create a written emergency preparedness and action plan for your family and/or business.
• Decide where to go if you're at home, school, work, outdoors, or in a car when a hurricane or tropical storm threatens. Update these plans every school year and as places of employment and residence change.
• Identify two places where you and your family members can meet if you are separated: one outside your home and another outside your neighborhood.

If you live in a hurricane evacuation zone:
• Make an evacuation plan if you live in an area vulnerable to storm surge or flooding.
• Identify the evacuation route you will use if you are told to evacuate.
• Research alternate routes, if possible.
• Have current paper (hard-copy) maps on hand. (Don't rely only on smartphones and mobile devices, as cellular networks may be down in your area during a storm.)
• Fill your gas tank before the storm. Power outages can shut down gas stations.

Have your emergency outage kit stocked and readily available.
• Obtain emergency supplies in advance of a storm.
• Test emergency equipment such as generators and flashlights.
• Include at least a 3-day supply of water (a gallon per person per day) and non-perishable food.

In advance of a severe storm, visit an ATM to ensure you have extra cash on hand, fill prescriptions, and bring in loose objects from outside.

If a severe storm does hit your area:
• Stay in a secure room and away from windows. Remain indoors.
• Monitor weather bulletins on a battery-powered radio.
• If your power goes out, report your outage immediately to your local electric company. Don’t rely on your neighbors to report your outage.
• Follow all directions and orders from local officials, and leave immediately if instructed to do so.

Explore EEI’s Web site to find out:
• What to do in case of a power outage; and
• How to stay safe in the event of a hurricane, flash flood, or winter storm.

For more hurricane safety and preparation tips, visit the National Hurricane Survival Initiative.

Severe Weather and Reliability

In addition to customer safety, the electric power industry’s top priority is to provide a reliable supply of on-demand power. Discover how the industry responds to outages caused by severe weather:
• Review the power restoration process
• Learn about the Mutual Assistance Network

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