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news release

NYSEG AND RG&E MAKING PROGRESS IN RESTORING POWER 

>> NYSEG and RG&E urge customers to stay far away from downed power lines. Even lines that appear dead can be deadly. NYSEG customers should call 1.800.572.1131 to report downed power lines or hazardous situations; RG&E customers should call 1.800.743.1701.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Rochester, NY, February 12, 2009 (9 p.m.) – Approximately 14,000 NYSEG and RG&E customers are currently without power as a result of widespread damage to the companies’ electricity delivery systems from today’s severe winds. At peak, 45,000 NYSEG and RG&E customers were without power.

NYSEG’s Western New York service area in Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Niagara, Wyoming, Livingston and Allegheny counties, where 12,000 customers are presently without power, was hardest hit. The remainder of the current power interruptions are widely scattered across the NYSEG and RG&E service areas.

NYSEG and RG&E expect to have power restored to the vast majority of customers by midnight tomorrow. The companies caution that with high winds expected to continue in some locations across the state until late tonight, there may be additional power interruptions.

“We appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding as we go about our work,” said Mike Conroy, vice president - operations at NYSEG and RG&E.

Here are some tips for weathering the storm:

During a power interruption

  • Contact neighbors to see if their power is off. A loss of power may be the result of a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker.
  • Contact NYSEG (1.800.572.1131) or RG&E (1.800.743.1701) to report a power interruption. Our telephone system lets callers report the problem, helps our crews respond quickly and efficiently, and provides customers with power interruption updates. Because many people may be trying to reach us during a power interruption, phone lines may be busy. Anyone who has access to a working computer during a power interruption can also report the interruption online at nyseg.com or rge.com.
  • Listen to a battery-powered radio for weather and power restoration updates.
  • Turn off major appliances (electric water heaters, refrigerators and freezers) and sensitive electronic equipment (TVs, VCRs, DVD players, computers, stereos) to prevent overloading and possible damage when power is restored. Turning off this equipment may mean unplugging it, turning off a circuit breaker or removing a fuse for the circuit that provides power to this equipment. Leave one light switch “on” to know when power has been restored.
  • Emergency generators can be dangerous. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Never run an emergency generator indoors; operate generators only outdoors in well-ventilated areas.
  • Don’t use a natural gas or propane range to heat your home.
  • Never use outdoor grills or stoves inside.
  • Keep refrigerators and freezers closed as much as possible. Most food will last 24 hours if you minimize the opening of refrigerator and freezer doors.

After your power is restored

  • If a basement or home was flooded, customers should have an electrician check the home and have a plumbing and heating contractor check natural gas appliances before contacting NYSEG or RG&E to have services turned on.
  • Turn on appliances and sensitive electronic equipment one at a time to avoid overloading circuits.
  • Replenish emergency supplies used during the storm.