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How to Prepare for Arctic Blast

Photo Courtesy: Joy Belgiovine

Photo Courtesy: Joy Belgiovine

PSE&G is preparing for another round of freezing temperatures and accumulating snow that will affect its service territory beginning today.

Snow, by itself, does not pose a serious problem for utilities, but heavy snow, icing and strong winds can increase the possibility of downed wires and associated power outages. Vehicles striking utility poles can also cause wires to come down. To respond to any electric outages, PSE&G has additional equipment and personnel on hand.

The utility is monitoring its gas system and taking steps to ensure it can meet the demands of customers. These steps include maintaining and adjusting pressure at various points in our system. PSE&G also has extra gas personnel on hand to respond as quickly as possible and handle emergency heating requests.

As low temperatures and snowy conditions blanket the area, PSE&G suggests customers have an emergency kit on hand year round. Here are some things to include:

  • A battery powered radio.
  • A corded telephone. (Cordless phones will not work if the power is out.)
  • Flashlights and extra fresh batteries.
  • A first-aid kit.
  • Bottled water and an adequate supply of non-perishable food.
  • A non-electric can opener.
  • Matches and candles with holders.
  • Blankets and sleeping bags.

PSE&G offers the following heat-related tips:

  • Seal up openings around and under doors and windows
  • Make sure all storm windows are down and tightly closed
  • Lower thermostats serving unused rooms
  • Close dampers in unused fireplaces
  • Move furniture and drapes away from heating registers, radiators, and baseboard element covers
  • Open any register or baseboard dampers
  • Warm air systems – replace dirty/clogged air filters
  • Steam systems – check for sufficient water levels in the sight glass
  • Be cautious when using space heaters.  Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and heed warning labels. Be sure all members of the household understand how to operate space heaters safely.
  • Don’t try to use a gas oven or range to heat a room – the appliance will deplete oxygen from the air, causing asphyxiation or deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide  — an invisible, odorless, tasteless and non-irritating gas — is the leading cause of accidental poisoning in the United States.  Natural gas, oil, propane, coal or wood, produces CO.
  • The first line of defense against CO poisoning is to make sure all your fuel-burning appliances operate and are maintained properly.  These appliances include gas and oil furnaces, water heaters, gas ranges, space heaters, and gas clothes dryers.  Improperly vented fireplaces and charcoal grills can also give off CO.
  •  Invest in carbon monoxide detectors as back-up protection, not as a substitute for proper use and maintenance of the fuel-burning appliances.  CO alarms can provide an early warning to consumers before CO builds up to a dangerous level.  The US Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends placing a carbon monoxide alarm in every area of the house. If just one alarm is installed, it should be placed near the sleeping rooms of the house.  If you already have one, remember to check the batteries regularly.
  • If you are calling for service, please make sure that your walkways are clear of snow and ice for safe access by our employees.
  • You can help keep your natural gas supply flowing by keeping your meter free of snow and ice. If you are a natural gas customer whose gas meter is on the outside of your home or business, please take the following precautions:
  • Clear snowdrifts away from the meter and piping.
  • Do not pile snow on top of the gas meter or around its connecting piping when you are shoveling your premises.
  • Brush snow from the meter and piping before a thick layer of ice builds up.
  • Clear snow from dryer vents to prevent fumes from backing up into your house.

To report downed wires or power outages, customers should call PSE&G’s Customer Service line at 1-800-436-PSEG.

General outage activity throughout the service territory is available online at www.pseg.com/outagecenter and updates are posted on pseg.com during severe weather.

Sign up as a follower at http://twitter.com/psegdelivers to monitor restoration progress. Customers also can register for text and e-mail alerts at pseg.com/myaccount.

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