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news release

NYSEG Crews Working to Ensure Public Safety in Flooded Areas

>> To report electric emergencies and power interruptions, NYSEG customers should call 1.800.572.1131; to report natural gas emergencies, 1.800.572.1121.

Binghamton, NY – (September 8, 2011) NYSEG crews from across the state have converged on the Southern Tier to ensure customers are safe as flood waters are surpassing record 2006 levels in some locales.

As a result of flooding, NYSEG has already shut down six electric substations in Broome and Tioga counties for safety reasons and turned off electricity and/or natural gas service to hundreds of homes and businesses in communities across the Southern Tier including Binghamton, Vestal, Johnson City, Owego, Walton, Deposit and Wellsburg. Substations in Bainbridge and Sidney may also need to be shut down because of flooding.

The public should be aware that:

• Electricity and natural gas service may still be on in some flooded areas. Before people
 re-enter these areas, they should check on the status of utility services with public officials  or NYSEG to make sure they stay safe.

• In the process of shutting off electricity service to flooded areas, some other services in areas that are not flooded may be affected.

“Conditions are much worse than in 2006 when it took considerable time for us to restore service,” said Mark S. Lynch, president of NYSEG and RG&E. “Once NYSEG can gain access to flooded areas, the company can assess damage to its electricity and natural gas delivery systems and begin repairs.”

NYSEG offers customers the following tips:
>> If flooding of a home or business has already occurred
or is about to occur, customers should contact their utilities to have electricity and natural gas service turned off. Customers should never attempt to turn off electricity and natural gas service.
>> Stay out of flooded basements! Energized wiring or outlets below the water line may pose a hazard; natural gas service in a flooded basement may also pose a danger.
>> To have electricity service restored once flood waters have receded: Customers should contact their utility to discuss specific circumstances; a safety inspection by a certified electrical inspector may be necessary before service can be restored. Someone must be present for service to be turned on, the basement must be free of water and the electrical panel must be clean and free of debris. Customers and contractors should never attempt to turn on electricity service.
>> To have natural gas service restored once flood waters have receded: If the natural gas meter and/or regulator were under water, customers must first contact their natural gas company. If any natural gas equipment (furnace, boiler, water heater, etc.) has been under water, they need to contact a plumbing and heating contractor to have the equipment checked. Customers can then contact their natural gas company to have service restored. Customers and contractors should never attempt to turn on natural gas service.
NYSEG also reminds customers:
- If you smell natural gas, get up, get out and call your natural gas company or 911 from another location. Do not light matches, use any electrical appliances, turn lights on or off, or use the phone at the location of the suspected leak – any of these actions could provide a source of ignition for any natural gas that is present.

- Stay away from downed power lines. Even lines that appear “dead” can be deadly.