Less than two days into operations, PSEG Long Island will face its first great challenge of the new year: a blizzard estimated to blanket the island in up to ten inches of snow.
Nearly 2,200 PSEG LI employees officially began work at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1, and the utility has begun making arrangements for contractors to assist its workforce, including its tree crews. The storm, which the National Weather Service predicted will make landfall Thursday night and continue into Friday afternoon, will likely boast heavy snow, strong winds and a dangerously cold wind chill.
The company’s new director of communications, Jeffrey Weir, said he thinks the workforce is ready for what he called a trial by fire. “The transition went incredibly well,” he said. “We’re really well staffed and ready to handle anything.
“We’ve initiated all of our storm response and preparedness and readiness programs,” Weir added. “We’re ready. We’ve got the manpower and the equipment and services available to help folks out if they lose power.”
However, a press release sent out on Thursday morning notes that heavy snow, icing and strong winds could make PSEG LI’s response times for services longer than anticipated. The utility plans to regularly provide updates on outages and related concerns on their website and Twitter page.
In case of lost power, PSEG LI asks residents to first check to see if their house is the only one in the neighborhood without power. If it is, check the fuse box for tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses. If the fuse box looks normal, look outside at the wire between the house and the closest utility pole. Any downed wires should be reported as soon as possible.
In case of outages, residents are advised to keep an emergency kit on hand, including a battery powered radio, a corded telephone, flashlights and extra batteries, a first aid kit, bottled water, non-perishable food, a manual can opener, matches, candles, blankets and sleeping bags.
Residents are also advised to stay away from all downed power lines, whether on foot or in a car, and keep children away from areas with downed poles or wires. If a wire falls on a car, passengers should stay put until help arrives.
Those attempting to reach PSEG LI to report outages or downed wires should call customer service at 1-800-490-0075, or log into a customer account. Those with life-sustaining equipment are advised to pre-register for priority attention by calling PSEG LI customer service as soon as possible.