O&R DECLARES A STORM WATCH AS SEVERE WEATHER APPROACHES

O&R has declared a Storm Watch as winds gusting possibly as high as 50 mph, accompanied by heavy rains and thunderstorms are expected to pound the region through the day Thursday with high winds continuing through Friday.

High winds and thunderstorms can cause power line damage and electric service interruptions. O&R crews will be ready to repair damage and restore service as needed through the duration of the storm.

O&R personnel have been instructed to practice social distancing with each other and members of the public when responding to emergency calls in an attempt to keep everyone safe from the coronavirus. O&R is following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines during the health emergency.

For safety’s sake, don’t touch or approach any downed wire. Assume the downed wire is energized and dangerous. Do not try to move them or touch them with any object. Be mindful that downed wires can be hidden from view by tree limbs, leaves or standing water.

A strong cold front Thursday will bring the region a period of moderate to heavy rain, embedded thunderstorms and strong winds with gusts of up to 50 mph possible. Isolated severe thunderstorms also are possible from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday. Winds are expected to diminish overnight and ramp up again at daybreak Friday.

On Friday, the cold front will exit the region but strong winds, gusting to 40 to 50 mph, will continue with mostly cloudy skies and isolated rain showers.

Company and contractor overhead line crews and tree removal crews are ramping up for a high-volume outage response to the storm, as are damage assessment, site safety, customer service operations and the wide array of O&R teams that support those functions. All personnel working on this emergency response will remain focused on maintaining safe, reliable service while protecting their families, customers and themselves.

To prepare for the severe weather, O&R electric and gas crews will be securing active work sites through the day today to prevent damage from the coming storm.

The following video describes the typical storm repair and power restoration process: https://youtu.be/JeGU8ID4_m0

There are several ways customers can report outages and check service restoration status:
Go to the O&R website from any computer or web-enabled mobile device;
Use the O&R mobile app from your iPhone, iPad or Android device;
Text “OUT” to 69678 (myORU); or
Call Customer Assistance at 1-877-434-4100

For more information, visit O&R’s Storm Center at www.oru.com.

To help its customers prepare to weather a storm, O&R offers these tips:

For safety’s sake, don’t touch or approach any downed wire. Assume it is energized and dangerous. Call O&R immediately toll-free 1-877-434-4100. Depending on the situation, you may also want to call your local police to divert traffic until an O&R crew arrives.

Maintain a distance of at least 50 feet from downed wires and anything they are in contact with including puddles of water and fences. Supervise your children so that they are not in the vicinity and keep pets on a leash or otherwise secure.

If a fallen wire is draped over a car, do not approach the car and make rescue attempts. Remain a safe distance away and try to keep the occupant of the vehicle calm. If possible, emergency personnel should handle the situation.

Pole-top transformers — those small grey-colored metal drums attached to the wires at the tops of most utility poles — also should be avoided when they have been knocked to the ground.

Portable generators pose a serious hazard if used improperly. They should be used and installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. A wrong connection could feed electricity back through the lines and endanger our repair crews. Never plug a generator into a wall unit, use it indoors or set it up outdoors near open home windows or air-handling vents.

Have emergency equipment within reach — portable radio, flashlights, spare batteries, first aid kit, cell phone and important medications. Keep O&R’s toll-free number 1-877-434-4100 near the phone to report power outages.

Remember: if the base station of your cordless phone plugs into the wall, your phone will be unusable during a power outage.