The frigid temperatures and below zero wind chill caused a lot of discomfort to the area over the weekend, not to mention the weekend before that.
Around New Years Eve we had that major outage in West Sparta, North Dansville, Nunda, and the surrounding areas. This past weekend we had record low wind chill temperatures.
There was a lot of concern from residents that suffer from these power outages in the cold winter months.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Aaron Reynolds said that an arctic chill from Canada came through our region and caused those bone chilling temperatures over the weekend.
“Lake effect will wind down by Saturday,” he said. “We will have light snow Sunday night into Monday morning.”
The Polar Vortex that came from a snow storm in Massachusetts brought the wind chill of 25- below- zero for much of Friday through Sunday night.
Reynolds said this week will be a dramatic warm up for our area, and residents will get a thaw from the frigid cold.
“The massive storm in Massachusetts brought in the arctic air through Canada, and that is why we had such cold temperatures,” he said.
NYSEG Employee Rachel Buchanan said that what caused the massive power outages in our area over the holiday week was a bug transformer malfunction.
“We lost a transformer over the big storm,” she said. “We had extra crew over the weekend working on it, but it took a long time. It was a mechanical systems issue.”
The elderly who depend on life support should be signed up with NYSEG Life Support. Buchanan said they keep an active list of those who are on that, so that people respond to them first in a power outage.
“They each need to sign up for Life Support through us, so that when a bad storm happens we can respond to them immediately,” she said. “NYSEG keeps an active list, and they are the first we look at in these situations.”
With the widespread outages it was hard for NYSEG to find what the problem was on the line.
“We had lots of crews out there trying to identify the problem, and that is when they found that a transformer had blown up,” Buchanan said. “We diagnosed the problem as fast as we could, and they went right to work fixing it.”
If you are on Life Support and have not signed in with NYSEG you can contact them to set that up by looking up customer service on your bill. You will need that information when calling.
As far as the uncertainty of the winter months ahead NYSEG feels that everyone needs to be careful when it comes to exhaust vents, gas meters and regulators clear of snow and ice as they clean up after winter storms.
Snow, ice and other debris can block exhaust vents for furnaces, water heaters and similar appliances, potentially causing toxic fumes and poisonous carbon monoxide to build up indoors. Furthermore, snow and ice accumulated around natural gas meters and regulators can prevent gas company personnel and first-responders from locating and accessing them during an emergency.
Customers should note the location of outdoor vents, including sidewall vents, as well as meters and regulators, and make sure they remain clear and accessible. After the storm passes, snow or debris should be removed gently by hand or with a broom to avoid damage. Customers should also be alert to potential ice build-up on rooftops and gutters. Falling ice and snow can damage utility meters and regulators.
“We want customers to stay comfortable and safe all winter. Taking the simple, but important step of keeping gas equipment free of snow and ice can help prevent serious safety hazards, and ensure that emergency responders have the access they need,” said Robert Kump, CEO of Avangrid Networks.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be located on every level of your home, outside all sleeping areas and inside each bedroom. Test them monthly and replace the batteries at least twice a year.
Never use your stove or oven to stay warm. Only space heaters intended for indoor use should be operated indoors or in enclosed spaces, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are unable to keep your home safely and comfortably heated, call 211 for resources that can help you and your family.
Any generator that plugs into a home’s wiring should be connected via a transfer switch by a licensed electrician. This ensures that when the generator is in use, house wiring is isolated from utility lines. Improper installation can damage the generator, or create hazards for utility employees working on poles, or even the general public. If adding a natural gas-fired generator, consult your gas company to ensure there is adequate pressure. Generators should be placed outdoors and away from doors and windows to prevent exposure to carbon monoxide.