A day of unrelenting winds mixed with heavy snow left more than 21,000 customers without power Thursday as a powerful storm with blizzard conditions ripped across the island.
PSEG Long Island said that as of about 4:30 p.m. Thursday — as the storm was starting to ease over the region — 16,574 customers had experienced an outage throughout the day. By 9 p.m. that number had grown to 21,694. At the same time, Weir said, 21,139 customers had their power restored, and just 555 remained without power.
“With the winds whipping the way they are we anticipate seeing more outages,” PSEG spokesman Jeffrey Weir had said in the afternoon. “We’ll continue to respond” to restore those outages, he added.
Weir said outages were the result of “wires down due to wind and trees,” which can brush up against or topple and tear down power lines.
Winds were so strong Thursday that the utility had to exercise extra caution in getting crews up in bucket trucks, he said. Slick, snow-laden roads also slowed some response times.
But Weir said the number of outages and the restoration times were on par “for a storm of this magnitude.”
In addition to its hundreds of in-house workers, PSEG had 240 power-line workers on hand who were on the island to help fortify the system under a federal-government-funded program. There were also 60 local contractors to work on lines, 58 local tree-trim contractors and 70 off-Island tree trimmers called in.
Work was expected to continue through the overnight and into Friday, Weir said. “We’ll work through the night” and beyond “if customers are without power” until all are restored, he said.