Strong wind gusts of up to 60 mph continue to bring trees and limbs down onto power lines, causing widespread electric service interruptions throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley. As of 1:30 p.m. today, nearly 490 damage locations are reported and more than 29,000 customers of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation are without electric service, the majority of which are located in southeastern Dutchess County and Orange County.
“More than 300 electric line and tree clearing personnel are working to repair power outages, together with hundreds of support staff to deliver needed supplies, assess damage, guard downed wires and provide additional services,” said Ryan Hawthorne, Assistant Vice President of Electric Engineering and Operations at Central Hudson. “Although power restorations are taking place throughout the day, new power outages are being reported as windy conditions continue. Once the winds subside, we expect that service restorations will likely take place over multiple days, depending on the extent of the storm damage.
“For the safety of the public and utility personnel, we are following CDC guidelines,” said Hawthorne. “Our electric line crews and support staff are practicing social distancing when addressing emergencies, and we will be staging crews to avoid clustering of personnel,” he said. “In this current environment, we realize many residents are at home and dependent on electric service for common household uses and to stay connected. We remain committed to restoring power as quickly and safely as possible under these circumstances.”
Hawthorne said that the utility is attempting to secure assistance from outside the area, however severe weather conditions are impacting a large, widespread region of the country, and other utility companies are utilizing their own crews to address power interruptions within their respective areas. “We are using every means to secure additional resources as they become available,” he said.
Hawthorne said the utility is also monitoring weather forecasts and is working to maintain electric service to critical facilities such as hospitals and clinics to the extent possible.
Hawthorne stressed that residents should stay at least 30 feet away from downed power lines, and to remember that lines may be entangled and hidden in fallen trees and limbs. “Assume all downed lines are live, and keep a wide distance from fallen trees and limbs,” he said. As many families and children are home, Hawthorne urged residents to watch for and keep themselves, families and neighbors away from these hazards. Motorists should also be aware of the potential for downed limbs and power lines that may block roadways, and should never attempt to drive over or around downed power lines.
Hawthorne recommended ways in which customers can prepare for the storm and potential electric service interruptions by:
- Paying attention to weather advisories, storm outage updates and/or shelter information;
- Charging electronic devices in order to connect with https://StormCentral.CenHud.com;
- Keeping handy a flashlight and fresh batteries;
- Having a battery-powered radio to remain informed of restoration efforts;
- Confirming adequate packaged or canned foods that require no refrigeration or cooking;
- Avoiding opening a refrigerator unnecessarily during outages, so that food lasts longer;
- Having a non-electric can opener;
- Keeping an emergency supply of bottled water on hand for drinking and washing; and
- Filling bathtubs with water as added reserves.
Hawthorne urged customers to keep safety in mind, particularly during power interruptions:
- Stay at least 30 feet away from downed power lines, and remember that lines may be entangled and hidden in fallen trees. Assume all downed lines are live;
- Never use outdoor gas or charcoal grills indoors, as they pose a fire hazard and over time can give off carbon monoxide gas;
- Beware of fallen trees and limbs, and use caution or traveling;
- Avoid the use of candles for illumination due to fire hazards;
- Follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions on the use of emergency generators, and be sure to shut off the main breaker when in use and operate the units outdoors;
- Operate cars and motor vehicles outdoors only, and never inside the garage; and
- Avoid travel along roadways as hazardous conditions may cause driving accidents, including those involving utility poles which may cause power interruptions.
Customers can stay informed of storm and restoration conditions in the following ways:
- By text messaging: Customers should enroll in Central Hudson’s Texting Program to use text messaging to report their power condition and to obtain repair status. To enroll, visit CentralHudson.com/Alerts or text REG to 236483;
- On the Web: Visit CentralHudson.com/Storms to report outages and obtain restoration updates;
- Via smart phones: A mobile version of the Central Hudson’s website can be accessed by web-enabled cell phones and mobile devices at https://mobile.CenHud.com. Free Central Hudson mobile applications for Android and Apple and are also available by logging onto CentralHudson.com/mobileapp;
- Through social media: “Like” Central Hudson on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/CentralHudson) and “Follow” on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/CentralHudson); and
- By phone: Call the Central Hudson PowerLine at (845) 452-2700 or 1-800-527-2714, and please use the automated system to report or monitor your power condition.
More information on preparing for storms and emergencies and communicating with Central Hudson is available at www.CentralHudson.com; for information regarding electric and natural gas safety, visit www.CentralHudson.com/Safety.
Downed trees in the City of Poughkeepsie (top) and Fishkill (bottom) are the result of strong winds impacting the region, causing power outages throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley. Repair crews are working to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. Due to the extent of the damage, full service restorations are expected to take place over multiple days.