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What we know about the massive power outage

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Posted at 9:44 AM, Mar 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-09 17:40:16-05

Tens of thousands of people are without power Thursday morning due to the intense winds that blew through Western New York Wednesday.

About 22,500 National Grid customers and 17,000 NYSEG customers are still powerless Thursday evening in Western New York.

Steve Brady with National Grid says more than 1,100 service, line and tree workers are out working to remove trees, replace poles, assess damage and restore power.

"If the weather holds, we're hoping to make some very good progress today," said Brady.

Rachel Buchanan with NYSEG says outside crews will also be coming in to help repair the outages affecting their customers.

"We will be working around the clock 24/7 until every last customer is restored," said Buchanan.

Brady says he does not have a specific time National Grid customers can expect to have their power back on, but many may not be restored until Friday. He says the company has already restored power to more than half of the 147,000 customers impacted by the winds. As of 10:45 Thursday morning, 71,000 National Grid customers remain without power.

"Because the storm lasted as long as it did yesterday, we had a hard time getting a complete assessment of the damage that was done," said Brady. "In fact, we were taking new outage calls well into the evening last night."

According to Brady, the most severe damage was in areas north and east of Buffalo, especially Niagara, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties. He says once the damage is fully assessed, customers can expect specific restoration times for specific areas announced later in the day on Thursday.

Buchanan says some NYSEG customers can also expect their outages to last beyond 24 hours. She says NYSEG is focusing on restoring power to critical facilities first, such as hospitals, public safety buildings and shelters.

Buchanan says NYSEG will be setting up dry ice and water locations Thursday afternoon and recommends customers look for alternative shelters through the outage.

National Grid will also have dry ice and water bottle stations from 12-5 p.m. Thursday and Friday:

  • Wrights Corners Fire Company - 4043 Lake Avenue, Lockport
  • City of Batavia Fire Department - 18 Evans Street, Batavia
  • Village Fire Station - 80 Owens Road, Brockport

According to Buchanan, the damage from the storm is very widespread. She says there are several broken poles, which need to be fixed first and take the most time to fix. She also reports over 500 downed wires.

If you want to know how you can help the process move as quickly as possible, Brady and Buchanan both say to simply stay out of the way and let the crews handle it.

"If you see a downed wire, do not assume it's dead," said Buchanan.

Brady says there are still many safety concerns and asks customers not to try and clean up tree branches or power lines on their own.

Buchanan says customers can also help by reporting their power outage. This helps crews understand the width and depth of the outage. She also asks people to report downed wires. If you are a NYSEG customer, you can call 1-800-572-1131 or go online to nyseg.com to report outages or downed wires.

If you are a National Grid customer, you can report your outage or downed lines at 1-800-867-5222.

Brady and Buchanan both ask customers to be patient in this process as crews work as efficiently as possible to get power restored.