The most pressing issue after a storm is restoration of power.
Priority of Restoration
It may be helpful to understand the triage system both Jersey Central Power & Light and PSE&G are using. In rough priority order:
- Remaining outages from storm Reilly
- Critical facilities, such as schools and special needs facilities
- Areas where a single repair can bring up many homes
- More isolated outages
Downed Power Lines
For homeowners with downed power lines attached to their house: An overhead power line normally is tied to the house with a big metal ring up high on the side of the house. From this point, there is a heavy cable that descends to the meter. If a downed power line detaches from the ring, it is the homeowner’s responsibility (and cost) to replace/repair the ring and to replace/repair the descending cable. Also, if the meter is damaged or ripped from the house, the homeowner will need to repair/replace the meter pan and only then will the power company will replace the meter and attach overhead power.
The cable and meter pan must be done by a licensed electrician and requires a permit. During these sort of natural disasters, the town will generally allow the work to proceed without all the permitting paperwork being completed, but at some point, after the repair you will be inspected.
Only when the descending cable, ring and meter pan are repaired will the power company come and re-attach your downed line. For suburban residential homes, there’s no charge from the power company to replace/repair the downed line from the street pole.
Jersey Central Power & Light reminds customers to take precautions when using generators during power outages. Emergency power generators offer an option for customers needing or wanting uninterrupted service. However, to ensure the safety of the home’s occupants as well as that of utility company employees who may be working on power lines in the area, the proper generator should be selected and installed by a qualified electrician.
When operating a generator, the power coming from the home should always be disconnected. Otherwise, power from the generator could be sent back into the utility lines, creating a hazardous situation for utility workers.