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PSEG LI bringing 400 extra line workers in from outside to help with 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. Out-of-state utility crews are arriving to assist in any possible storm outages. Credit: James Carbone

PSEG Long Island is expected to bring in more than 400 line workers from off Long Island to help restore potential power outages as the company advises customers to prepare for that possibility.

PSEG Long Island chief operating officer Dan Eichhorn, in a briefing before LIPA trustees last week, said PSEG largely had fixed the bottlenecks in the system that caused its phone network to overload during Tropical Storm Isaias, leading to the loss of more than 1 million customer phone calls.

An outage management system that is central to the company’s responses to storms also has been addressed, he said, but the company continues to rely on an older version of the software while preparing to redeploy a newer version that previously failed during Isaias. Eichhorn said the current system has been stable during recent tests, and said he was confident it could handle an outage comparable to Isaias or larger. The new version of the system is being prepared for implementation by August or September.

PSEG in alerts about the snowstorm said high winds and large amounts of snow could cause weighted tree limbs to break and fall onto power lines, potentially leading to outages. The company said it began processing off-island crews around midday Sunday at Bethpage State Park to prepare for restoration of potential outages. Those off-island workers will join hundreds of PSEG crews already on the ground, along with on-island electric- and tree-trim crews.

PSEG customers who experience an outage can call 800-490-0075, or text the word OUT to 773454. There’s also a chat feature at psegliny.com, the company said.

Customers who call the line to report an outage, or who check the company’s outage map online, will not be immediately given an estimated restoration time. This "enhancement," begun in the aftermath of Isaias, "will allow for crews to assess storm impact before issuing" estimated restoration times, PSEG said. It addresses complaints from thousands of customers after Isaias that many estimates were inaccurate.

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