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PSEG working to restore power outages from storm

A PSEG gasoline truck fuels up a MJ

A PSEG gasoline truck fuels up a MJ Ulitily truck from Michigan at Bethpage State Park on Sunday. Utility crews came from out of state in advance of the storm to assist PSEG. Credit: James Carbone

PSEG Long Island had a relatively light day of power outages and restorations despite strong, unrelenting winds and heavy snowfall throughout most of the region Monday, with the biggest electric-system impacts hitting Suffolk County.

By 10 p.m.. Monday, the utility said it had restored more than 11,600 outages through the day and would work through the night to restore power to about 1,400 customers.

Outages through most of the day rarely topped 1,000, until the afternoon, when they reached a high of 4,100, PSEG reported. By comparison, Tropical Storm Isaias, which lasted a few hours, resulted in more than 645,000 outages and more than $300 million in restoration work and damage.

Strong winds buffeted Long Island most of Monday, and were the culprit for most outages, with more severe effects in Suffolk.

"It's really the wind that's breaking tree branches and blowing those around," causing most of the outages, PSEG spokeswoman Ashley Chauvin said.

Despite forecasts that the most severe weather would impact western Long Island, the East End saw the bulk of the outages.

"What we were watching was Nassau got the higher snow totals, but peak wind gusts were expected to be higher in Suffolk," Chauvin said. By nightfall, most lingering outages were in East Hampton, Southampton and Southold.

Chauvin said the system held up well despite the strong winds. "We're not seeing much damage," she said. "We prepared for the worst, and hoped for the best."

Some 1,300 power-line workers and tree trimmers, including 400 from out of state, continued to work on restoring power, she said, though high winds did limit their ability to go up in bucket trucks. Chauvin said they would work in 16-hour shifts to get power restored as quickly and safely as possible.

"Crews have been deployed; work is getting out," she said.

Chauvin said PSEG would continue to monitor the storm throughout the evening Monday, with the prospect of some peak gusts potentially leading to new outages Monday night and into Tuesday.

Winds tend to be a bigger problem for line workers than snow, which tends not to accumulate on wires. Ice, which can wreak havoc with the system when it thickens on wires, hadn’t been a problem as of Monday afternoon.

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