As of Friday at noon:
South Orange Avenue west, between Ridgewood and Wyoming, is closed. Traffic is using Tillou, Beech Spring, and other local streets. Plan accordingly.
Downtown stores are open; Irvington Avenue restaurants are open. Traffic lights on Irvington are down; plan accordingly.
There is reportedly no gas left in South Orange.
In better news, both South Orange Public Library and the First Baptist Church are open for warmth and power.
As to power: as of this morning, PSE&G reports that nearly 50 percent of South Orange that had NO power now HAS power.
From the Village of South Orange:
As of Wednesday afternoon, PSE&G reported that there were now between 2,000 and 3,000 households are without power in South Orange, down from 4,700 at the finish of Hurricane Sandy's major impact Tuesday morning, which was approximately 90% of the households in South Orange. In Essex County, the number of households without power was almost 500,000, with more than 1/5 of that restored in the past 48 hours. Many PSE&G crews have been through South Orange, with many more working at the substation and distributer level, repairs to which will positively impact power restoration in South Orange, though the work on those is done outside of town so will go largely unseen.
Village Officials have participated in daily conference calls with PSE&G representatives, in addition to numerous individual calls and emails, to monitor the status of PSE&G's efforts to restore power and aggressively advocate for our residents. PSE&G has reported that Tuesday afternoon, after the hazardous conditions had subsided, were devoted to damage assessment for use in planning the restoration effort. Immediately thereafter, repair and restoration efforts commenced. According to PSE&G, the first focus was on critical facilities such as hospitals, emergency services facilities and nursing homes. At the same time, crews began the repair process at the substation level and are branching out along the grid into neighborhoods, working from larger primary lines down to smaller individual services lines.
South Orange's power situation is unique with power lines running through backyards. On one hand, it enables our public works crews to open streets sooner (only a few streets in South Orange are still blocked off, out of the nearly 75-100 that were blocked originally).
As reflected in the PSE&G statement below, PSE&G is not able to commit to a specific town by town, neighborhood by neighborhood restoration timetable, at least at this time. PSE&G reports that they have crews working around the clock to restore as much power to as many people as quickly as possible. The latest PSE&G projection is that the majority of households won't be back until the end of the weekend, at the very earliest. We have been communicating with county and state officials to ensure that we get as accurate and up to date information as possible from PSE&G on the progress of power restoration in South Orange.
Village officials will continue to monitor PSE&G progress and efforts while advocating for the restoration of South Orange power as soon as possible. Additionally, Village officials have been in close contact with the Essex County Office of Emergency Management to help expedite service to critical facilities supporting South Orange infrastructure, such as schools (Not just for school purposes, but also for polling stations on election day), and power to refueling pumps for our emergency vehicles. The Village Department of Public Works has completed all possible tree and debris removal to assist in that effort, and is awaiting PSE&G's crews as several locations to finish that process.
We will continue to update the community as we get more information.
Why is everyone being told the same Expected Time of Restoration?
Under normal circumstances we know how long it takes to respond to reports of problems and restore service. Our experience and the information you give us goes into our system, and it generates an Expected Time of Restoration (ETR.) These ETRs are quite accurate during moderate-sized storms.
This is not your average storm.
Hurricane Sandy has caused unprecedented damage, twice as much damage as Hurricane Irene. Many of our facilities were flooded by coastal surges, water-logging our equipment and making our stations and facilities difficult to access.
The amount of time it will take to begin working on a specific job may not be known, especially until a full assessment of the damage is done. Accordingly, at some point in a storm, we begin using a ‘Storm ETR’, or ‘Global ETR’. This is an estimate of when all customers in our territory are expected to be restored.
Once the full extent of the damage is known, the ETR may be changed. Customers who have requested a callback will be notified if the ETR changes by more than 2 hours in either direction. Those customers will also be notified when our system indicates their power has been restored.
Because there could be additional damage affecting a customer’s service it’s critical that customers call back and let us know if they are still without power.
Our call centers are fully staffed, 24/7 and safely repairing storm damage and restoring power is our number one priority. Call us at 800-436-PSEG (7734)