Central Hudson continues to prepare for expected high winds associated with Hurricane Sandy on Monday, and reminds customers to prepare and keep safety in mind as the storm approaches.
“The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for our area, and under these conditions we may experience widespread outages lasting several days or more,” said James P. Laurito, President of Central Hudson. “Customers are urged to prepare, and are reminded to take steps to stay safe during and after the storm.”
“Residents should exercise extreme caution when traveling, as fallen trees and downed lines, together with the potential for flash flooding, may create hazardous driving conditions,” said Laurito. “Assume all fallen lines are live, and stay at least 30 feet away. Wind and rain may also cause leaves to block storm drains, so watch for flooded roads, and especially avoid water near fallen lines as there is always the potential that it may be in contact with electricity.”
Laurito also explained that localized flooding may potentially undermine underground utilities, including natural gas lines. “Be cautious of pipes that may be exposed by fast-moving water, and report any gas odors,” he said.
“In preparation for this and other major storms, all Central Hudson employees are assigned storm-related duties to directly address damage, assist customers or perform support functions,” said Laurito. “We continue to closely monitor weather forecasts and participate in calls with the National Weather Service to gain the latest information,” he said. “We’re also working with regional Mutual Aid organizations to secure assistance in advance, and crews from Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin and Florida are in currently route to our area. We have retained additional tree trimming crews to help clear lines and roads, and we’re seeking additional line and tree crews in anticipation of this storm. We’re also reaching out to members of the Northeast Gas Association for potential assistance in the event flooding may impact our natural gas system,” he said.
If power is lost, customers should call Central Hudson’s PowerLine at (845) 452-2700 or 1-800-527-2714 to report their power condition, and they are encouraged to use the automated reporting system. Customers with access to a computer may also report their power condition via www.CentralHudson.com by using the StormCentral function. Information regarding service restoration estimates, as it becomes available, can be obtained by phone and online, and updates are posted on Facebook and Twitter. A mobile version of the utility’s website, including StormCentral, can be accessed by web-enabled cell phones and mobile devices at http://mobile.CentralHudson.com. Free Central Hudson mobile applications for Android, Apple and Blackberry devices are also available by logging onto www.CentralHudson.com/mobileapp; recent updates to these mobile apps were made earlier this month, and current users should download their update.
For safety’s sake, Laurito also urged customers to:
· Stay at least 30 feet away from downed power lines, and lines which may be entangled and hidden in fallen trees. Assume all downed lines are live;
· Avoid the use of candles for illumination;
· 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; and
· Never use outdoor gas or charcoal grills indoors, as they pose a fire hazard and over time can give off deadly carbon monoxide gas. Use these appliances only outdoors with proper ventilation. Similarly, operate cars and motor vehicles outdoors only, and never in the garage.
“Our customers should continue to prepare for the possibility of extended power interruptions,” said Laurito. He advised customers to:
· Pay close attention to weather advisories and storm warnings;
· Have a telephone that does not require an electric outlet to operate;
· Charge cell phones, or have a car cell phone charger;
· Keep a flashlight and fresh batteries handy;
· Have a battery-powered radio to keep informed of restoration efforts;
· Stock water and packaged or canned foods that do not require refrigeration or cooking. Be sure to have a non-electric can opener;
· Ensure adequate supplies of prescription medications, cash and other necessities;
· Refuel vehicles and ensure that they are in good working condition;
· Know how to manually open automatic garage doors;
· Have a plan to check on vulnerable neighbors or family members;
· If you do lose power, to reduce the risk of damage to major appliances that would go back on when it is restored, turn off or unplug them. Just leave a light or two on in your home. (And it's always helpful to our repair crews if you leave an outside light on after dark, so they'll know for sure that the power is restored at your place.)
· Familiarize themselves in advance with the features of StormCentral on Central Hudson’s website in preparation of having to report a power outage; and
· Visit the Central Hudson Facebook page and “like” it in order to obtain restoration updates as the storm progresses.