Utilities are scrambling to reconnect nearly two million customers in 14 East Coast states who have been without power for three or four consecutive days since Hurricane Irene pummeled the region.
Irene, which was a major hurricane at one point with winds higher than 115 mph as it headed toward the U.S., hit New Jersey and New York as a tropical storm. The storm lost the characteristics of a tropical storm but continued to dump water on the Northeast U.S. and eastern Canada on Sunday. Along with an estimated $7 billion dollars of damage, the storm left 6.7 million utility customers in the dark over the weekend, Dow Jones reported today.
Fourteen states declared a state of emergency, including Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia. The Energy Department said today in in an update (as of 1 p.m. EST) on the energy situation following the storm that 1.7 million customers remained without power.
About 24% of customers in Rhode Island and 23% of customers in Connecticut remained without power, the DOE said. About 8% of Virginia customers were still in the dark, as were about 7% of customers in Maryland, 5% of Massachusetts customers, and 4% of customers in New York.
Power Restoration Efforts Underway
The following utilities were hustling to reconnect customers as detailed:
- The United Illuminating Co. (UI) reported today (August 31) that it estimates it will restore power to 94% of the affected customers by the weekend. UI has crews in from Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Indiana and in total there are 240 crews working.
- Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) reported on Monday that it could be a week or more before all of its customers are restored. As of Aug. 31, 900 line and tree crews were working across the state with additional crews arriving daily. Theses crews are from Canada, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Alabama, Michigan, and Massachusetts. By Friday (September 2), CL&P expects to have nearly 1,200 crews in the field.
DELMARVA Power expects to complete the restoration by noon Thursday (September 1), with the vast majority restored by midnight today (August 31).
District of Columbia
Pepco, serving D.C. and Maryland, continues to estimate that it will restore service to all of their customers by Thursday evening (September 1). Pepco has dispatched more than 1,400 line-restoration personnel to remaining localized areas without power.
Central Maine Power Co. (CMP) stated on August 31 that additional crews have arrived from northern Maine, New Hampshire and New Brunswick, Canada to assist in the restoration effort. CMP has nearly 160 tree crews and 285 repair crews working to restore power. The company expects to complete all storm repairs by late Thursday night (September 1).
- Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) continues to expect to restore service to the vast majority of customers to by late Friday (September 2), with some scattered outages extending into Saturday (September 3). BGE has more than 5,000 employees, contractors, and out-of-state linemen working on restoration today (August 31).
- Pepco, serving D.C. and Maryland, continues to estimate that it will restore service to all of their customers by Thursday evening (September 1). Pepco has dispatched more than 1,400 line-restoration personnel to remaining localized areas without power.
- Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) estimates that it will restore power to 99% of its customers by midnight tonight (August 31). The company’s 120 line and contract crews already in place were joined by another 100 additional contract crews yesterday (August 30) from as far away as Tennessee, Missouri, and Ohio
- New Hampshire Electric Co-op (NHEC) estimated that all affected customers will be restored by noon today (August 31). NHEC had 165 people in the field and an additional 25 were to arrive yesterday (August 30) from Pennsylvania. NHEC crews have been joined in the field by utility crews from five Massachusetts municipal electric companies and four private utility construction companies.
- Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L) continues to estimate that the majority of their customers will be restored by the weekend with full restoration by early next week. JCP&L has more than 4,000 employees assisting with restoration.
- Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) expects complete restoration of customers in Bergen, Hudson, Essex, Passaic, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Mercer counties by Friday (September 2). In the central NJ counties of Union, Middlesex, and Somerset affected by flooding PSE&G expects to restore service to all customers by Sunday (September 4). PSE&G has 6,000 employees supporting the restoration effort, including crews from Wisconsin, West Virginia, Florida, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.
- Atlantic City Electric expects to restore the vast majority of its customers affected by midnight Thursday (September 1) and estimated it will all customers restored by midnight Friday (September 2). Flooded roads in southern New Jersey have been an issue, impeding the capability to move crews and equipment throughout the region. Hundreds of Atlantic City Electric and mutual assistance crews are working to restore customers.
- Orange & Rockland (O&R) reported that most customers should be restored by midnight Friday (September 2), with the remaining restored over the weekend. More than 180 O&R, contractor and mutual aid crews from as far as Michigan and Texas are assessing damage and conducting system repairs.
- National Grid expects to restore power to customers in Troy by the afternoon of August 30, to customers in Hudson and Saratoga by noon August 31 and the remaining customers by midnight Thursday (September 1). The company reports more than 3,000 people are dedicated to the effort and as of August 30, National Grid has line crews (249 company, 352 out-of-state) and tree crews (215 company) dedicated to the effort.
- Orange & Rockland (O&R) reported that most customers should be restored by by midnight Friday (September 2), with the remaining restored over the weekend. More than 180 O&R, contractor and mutual aid crews from as far as Michigan and Texas are assessing damage and conducting system repairs.
- Con Edison, serving New York City and surrounding area, expected New York City customers to be restored late August 30 and most customers in Westchester County to be restored by late Thursday (September 1). As of August 30, ConEd had line crews (144 company, 135 out-of-state), tree crews (127 out-of-state), service crews (101 company) working to restore power..
- Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) reported 95% restoration is expected by midnight Friday September 2. LIPA has line crews (154 company, 341 out-of-state), tree crews (80 company, 161 out-of-state), service crews (274 company) and others deployed totaling 2,300 restoration personnel across Long Island.
- Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation reports that most of their outages are in the hardest-hit counties of Ulster, Albany and Greene, where restoration work has been hampered by severe flooding, impassable roadways and infrastructure destruction. The company estimates the majority of the customers in Columbia, Dutchess, Orange, and Putnam counties will be restored by today (August 31), while customers in Ulster and Greene counties can expect to be restored by Sunday (September 4). A workforce of line crews (55 company, 43 out-of-state), tree crews (41 out-of-state) and service crews (19 company, 12 out-of-state) is working to restore electricity.
- New York Service Gas and Electric (NYSEG) reports 90% restoration is expected by Friday (September 2), with the exception of the Oneonta area. NYSEG has line crews (149 company, 60 out-of-state) and tree crews (224 out-of-state) working to restore power.
- Dominion Virginia Power stated that they are on track to restore 75% of affected customers by tonight (August 31) and 90-95% by Friday (September 2). Nearly all remaining customers will have service restored by Saturday night (September 3). The company plans to have estimated restoration times for individual customers today (August 31).
- Progress Energy is aiming to restore power to 99% of affected customers by midnight tonight (August 31).
- Met-Ed estimates that the majority of their customers should be restored by midnight Friday (September 2).
- Pike County Power reports that the remaining customers out are located predominantly in the Matamoras area. The utility estimates that restoration will be completed by Friday (September 2) evening or Saturday (September 3) morning, depending on further damage assessments.
- PECO, serving southeastern Pennsylvania, reports that more than 4,000 workers are working on restoration, and expects most customers to be restored tonight (August 31). Service for a small number of customers with more extensive damage will be restored by the weekend.
- Penelec estimates that restoration is expected by midnight tonight (August 31).
- PPL has more than 2,300 employees and contractors involved in the restoration effort. The company was estimating 3 to 5 days to restore substantially all customers. PPL reported that it has 18 miles of power lines to replace, in addition to 900 damaged poles, 700 insulators, and 4,638 fuses to fix.
- UGI Electric reported August 31 that due to the extent of the damage, customers should be prepared to be without power for an extended period, possibly into early next week in the most difficult-to-reach areas. UGI has 15 crews made up of more than 100 field team members plus additional support staff working on restoring power to affected communities.
National Grid reported that full restoration to all communities is expected by Sunday, September 3. A detailed county listing with estimated restoration times is posted on their website. The company has 3,500 restoration and support personnel supporting its response effort.
Dominion Virginia Power stated that they are on track to restore 75% of affected customers by tonight (August 31) and 90-95% by Friday (September 2). The company plans to have estimated restoration times for individual customers today (August 31).
Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) stated today (August 31) that complete restoration could take weeks due to areas being inaccessible. In areas that crews can get to, restoration would likely take days. The company has hundreds of crews from as far away as Illinois, Missouri, Texas, and Ontario assisting CVPS’s crews.
Nuclear Plants Offline
Nuclear plants in the path of Hurricane Irene were mostly unscathed—with the exception of Constellation Energy Nuclear Group’s Calvert Cliffs Unit 1, which went offline late Saturday after a piece of aluminum siding propelled by wind gusts hit the nuclear facility’s main transformer. Constellation said all safety systems operated as designed when Unit 1 automatically went offline. The company declared an unusual event, the lowest of four emergency classifications listed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Unit 2 remains online.
In New Jersey, Exelon Corp. took the one-reactor Oyster Creek Generating Station offline on Saturday as a precaution ahead of the storm. Meanwhile, Progress Energy’s Brunswick nuclear plant in North Carolina and Dominion’s Millstone nuclear plant in Connecticut were operating at reduced power as a precaution ahead of the storm.
The NRC last week said that in preparation for the storm, it had dispatched additional personnel to plants likely to be in the storm’s path, including at Brunswick near Southport, N.C., Surry in Surry, Va., Calvert Cliffs in Lusby, Md., Hope Creek/Salem in Hancocks Bridge, N.J., Oyster Creek in Forked River, N.J., Pilgrim in Plymouth, Mass., Millstone in Waterford, Ct., Seabrook in Seabrook, N.H., and Indian Point in Buchanan, N.Y. The agency said it would also monitor Global Nuclear Fuels-Americas, LLC, in Wilmington, N.C.
Sources: POWERnews, DOE, NRC