2008-08-08 / Top Stories

LIPA And National Grid Prepare For Hurricane Season

As the height of the 2008 hurricane season approaches, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and National Grid conducted its joint annual hurricane season preparednessdrill, which was monitored by the New York State Offices of Emergency Management and the emergency management offices of Nassau and Suffolk counties and New York City.

In preparation for a storm, LIPA and National Grid begin tracking major storms days before they approach. As a major storm and hurricane move towards the region, LIPA takes steps to respond quickly to storm-related outages.

For customer service, "21st Century," an automatic reporting system that can process more than 100,000 customer calls per hour, can be activated. Automatically, outages are electronically recorded and reported to system operators to start the restoration process by assigning a job ticket to the reported outage.

In addition to the line crew, all employees have a second job if a major storm strikes, and are trained for storm emergency assignments. Personnel work extended shifts around the clock to complete all service restorations as quickly as possible.

To help minimize storm damage to LIPA's electric system, LIPA's forestry program works throughout the year to identify and trim tree limbs in rights of way and along easements that could potentially cause outages during or after a storm. Additionally, customers are urged to have trees on private property surveyed independently to be assured that their trees or bushes are not experiencing dangerous and weakening rot. Tree limbs that come in contact with electric lines remain the major cause of customer outages during storms, accounting for over 90 percent of all service disruptions.

Well in advance of a hurricane or tropical storm, LIPA's customers are encouraged to follow these storm preparation recommendations to help ensure their families' safety and comfort: develop and rehearse a family plan for survival and property protection; have flashlights, battery-operated radios and extra batteries with fresh batteries; know the hurricane risks in your area, learn the location of official shelters, and be prepared to take alternate routes to these locations; be prepared to evacuate if you reside in a flood zone; inventory personal property; have material available to protect your doors and windows; put together a family hurricane evacuation kit that includes bottled water, bedding and clothing, including sleeping bags and pillows, and appropriate prescription medications; arrange now for elderly and others with special needs. Alert LIPA customer service (1-800-490-0025) about electric life-support devices; have plenty of non-perishable food and water supplies on hand. NOAA suggests one gallon of water per day; clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts;

keep trees and shrubbery trimmed of dead wood; determine where to move a boat in an emergency; and provide for pets.

If a hurricane or major tropical storm damages the region, residents are strongly cautioned to stay away from downed power lines. Should anyone notice a downed electric line or experience a single service interruption, call 1-800-490-0075. In addition, downed wires might end up covered by tree limbs or leaves, so be careful when letting children play outside after a storm.

For additional information on hurricane preparedness, as well as links to weather sites and emergency response agencies, visit LIPA's website at http://lipower.org.LIPA's Storm Center is available 24/7 for updates, outage information and storm restoration progress reports at www.lipower.org

/stormcenter. For information on the Forestry program, visit LIPA's website at www.lipower.org/community.

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