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Frequently Asked Questions

Power Outages

 

What do I do if I lose power?

  • If you lose power, first check your fuse and/or circuit breaker box and main breaker if appropriate. If that is not the problem, and your neighbors also have no power - report your outage online or call us at 1-800-490-0075.
  • If your fuse or breakers are in a flooded area, do not go near them until the water recedes or is removed.
  • Always stay away from fallen power lines, and always assume they are energized. Notify us at 1-800-490-0075 if you notice wires are down in your area.
  • Know how to open your garage door without the electric opener.
  • Remember, electric well and sump pumps will not operate.
  • Unplug all motor-driven appliances like refrigerators and freezers and sensitive electronic equipment (like TVs, microwaves and computers) to prevent a possible electrical overload when power is restored.
  • Leave one light switch on to indicate when power is restored.
  • Have a battery-operated radio and flashlight handy.

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Do I have to tell you that my power is out?
We always encourage you to contact us when your power is out. In many cases, we may already know about your outage, but contacting us helps to ensure that we can then follow-up with you about our progress and confirm with you that your power has been restored.

You have several options for reporting an outage to us:

If you ever see any downed wire, stay away from it, and please call 911 or 800-490-0075 immediately.

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What causes power outages?
A power outage occurs anytime there is a loss of electricity; momentarily or for a longer period of time. The top causes of power outages in our area are:

  • Storms (lightning, high winds, ice, snow and rain)
  • Trees and branches (contacting electric lines)
  • Animal contact with wires/equipment
  • Accidents (cars hitting poles)
  • Equipment failure (from corrosion, wear and aging parts)
  • Protective relay equipment on our power lines that work like the circuit breakers in your home and safely and automatically cuts off power.

Automatically shutting off the power means everyone who is fed electricity by that part of the network loses power. Once we locate the cause of the power outage, many customers can be restored to service even as repairs are being completed.

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I sometimes experience a short loss of power, or find that my digital clocks are all flashing 12:00. What happened?
You have just experienced a momentary outage. Momentary outages are caused by brief faults on the electric grid. These brief faults can be caused by:

  • A tree branch making contact with electric lines during a wind or thunderstorm. (Limbs can also fall onto electric lines on clear days.) 
  • Animal contact
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Lightning strikes 

There are devices called breakers and reclosers that help the electric system recover from brief short circuits/faults. These devices open to allow the temporary fault to clear. Then they automatically reclose to restore power. We understand that these momentary interruptions of service can sometimes be inconvenient, but they are necessary to prevent longer outages.

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How does weather affect power lines?
Long Island is surrounded by water and has many wooded areas. Many of our established neighborhoods have large trees planted years – even decades – ago that now envelope the power lines. This puts our electric system at risk for storms and damage caused by falling branches and trees. Storms can wreak havoc on our electric system. Because Long Island has so many trees growing near power lines, ice, wind, and heavy rain can make tree branches sag or fall on our wires causing power outages.

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Why don't you put all your power lines underground?
Placing electric wires underground would reduce the total numbers of outages, but at a very high cost to customers. Such a massive project would take over 30 years to complete at an estimated cost of $25 billion. In addition, problems with underground cables take two to three times longer to locate and repair than overhead wires. Where practical, we do install underground cable in new housing developments.

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What do I do with my food after an extended power outage?

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold enough for a few hours. A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours and a full freezer, between 36 and 48 hours.
  • You can also extend food storage by packing refrigerated milk, dairy products, meats, fish poultry, eggs, and other foods in a cooler surrounded by ice.
  • Specific advice on food spoilage is available from the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionNew Window and from the American Red Cross.New Window
  • Please visit our Food Preservation section for more information.

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What is your restoration process?
Please visit our Storm Restoration Process section for information.

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What about flooding?
Please visit our Flood Reconnect Process section for information.

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What about Critical Care Customers?
Please visit our Critical Care Program section for information.

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Last Updated 11/30/2016 9:34 PM