O&R: Hurricane Sandy, Nor'easter Power Restorations Nearly Complete

More than 500 poles, 400 transformers and 140,000 feet of wire replaced in wake of storms.

Orange and Rockland Utilities says this morning that by Friday night, power was restored to almost all of the 250,000 O&R electric customers whose power was knocked out by Hurricane Sandy.  

The company reported that extensive repairs will continue to restore electricity to about 50 remaining customers whose power was knocked out by the hurricane as well as those whose power was interrupted by the nor’easter that hit the area Wednesday. 

With the progress on repairs, O&R’s large contingent of contractor and mutual aid workers from across the nation and Canada has, and will continue to be, released to help neighboring utilities that are still restoring customer outages.     

Hurricane Sandy slammed O&R and its customers with high winds and heavy rains on Monday, Oct. 29. O&R says the hurricane caused the largest number of customer electric outages by a natural disaster to strike O&R in the company’s more than 100-year history — about 250,000 of O&R’s 300,000 electric customers or over 80 percent of the utility company’s electric customer base were affected.

Hurricane Sandy slammed the power system:

- It ripped down 27 electric transmission lines

- Disabled 17 substations

- Badly damaged almost all of the company’s 280 distribution circuits.

- The O&R distribution system sustained damage at over 10,000 separate locations.

As a result of damage from Hurricane Sandy, O&R says it has replaced more than 500 poles, 400 transformers and 140,000 feet of wire.

As a comparison, during Hurricane Irene, O&R replaced 150 poles, 330 transformers and 50,000 feet of wire in order to restore 120,000 customers. In the October 2011Snowstorm, O&R replaced 140 poles, 150 transformers and 74,000 feet of wire to restore 134,000 customers. 

Hurricane Sandy also generated a record number of calls to O&R’s Customer Service Department. On average, O&R receives about 800,000 customer calls per year. But from 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, through 5 a.m. on Nov. 7, O&R reports it received about 295,000 calls. About 77 percent of the calls were handled through O&R’s new high call volume automated outage processing system, and the remaining 23 percent were transferred to live representatives both at O&R and at outside contractor locations who answered those calls on average within 10 seconds.

Overall, 99.3 percent of the calls were answered, a dramatic improvement from both 2011 storms, according to the company. 

O&R says that to rebuild the badly damaged electric system, O&R mobilized its workforce of more than 1,000 employees and hired more than 2,500 utility contractors to field the largest emergency response workforce O&R has ever assembled.

The contractors came into O&R's area from 35 states and Canada, including a U.S. military airlift of 75 trucks and 200 workers from the Los Angeles area. About 80 New York State National Guard troops from Troy also joined the recovery effort.

 Here are the O&R service and outage figures by county:


                         Customer served                               Customers affected    


Rockland          114,707                                                        99,719                                 

Orange                82,358                                                        70,549

Sullivan                25,993                                                       11,571



Bergen               58,354                                                          52,742

Passaic              13,350                                                          10,961

Sussex                   276                                                                113


Pike                     4,558                                                              4,470

Scotty November 10, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I just want to say thanks to O & R and all others involved in the repair and restoration of power during the recent two storms. I feel you all did a great job and you should know that....hats off to you.
Laura S. November 10, 2012 at 08:05 PM
I second that, Scotty. We were without power for 10 days and in the last 6% of O&R customers to be restored, but I am not complaining. It was a herculean task to recover from Sandy and I commend O&R and their helpers for getting it done. The team that restored our power worked all day and night through the Nor'easter and refused to stop until the lights were on.
CR November 10, 2012 at 09:29 PM
It's nice to see reasonable posts regarding O&R's performance during this catastrophe, especially Laura who has been without power for so long. It's so easy to point fingers, especially at a utility company. Kudos to you both for not throwing O&R under the bus during this once in a lifetime disaster.
rockland community foundation November 12, 2012 at 01:59 PM
MOBILIZINGING TO SUPPORT ROCKANDLERS - The Rockland Community Foundation has activated an emergency fund to provide grant support for individuals and non-profits struggling as a result of Sandy. Donations are needed to help our neighbors rebuild. Grant applications and donation information can be found at www.rocklandgives.org. Please help us help.
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