March 10, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Directs Department of Public Service to Investigate Damaged Substations Causing Major Power Outages in Western New York

Governor Cuomo Directs Department of Public Service to Investigate Damaged Substations Causing Major Power Outages in Western New York

Nearly 27,000 Customers Without Power Overnight Due to High Winds

High Winds in The Area Could Cause Additional Outages

Public Service Commission's Call Center Helpline Can Be Reached by Calling 1-800-342-3377

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed the New York State Department of Public Service to investigate three damaged substations in the town of Hamburg causing major power outages in Western New York after nearly 26,800 customers lost power Saturday night due to high winds. Power was restored to nearly all those customers by early afternoon Sunday, however additional outages have occurred and more are possible as high wind conditions are expected in the area for the remainder of the day, with potential gusts as high as 60 mph in parts of Western New York. Utilities have pre-staged crews in the region to restore service if there are additional outages.

"Once again Mother Nature has given us another test, and while we have made much progress we are taking additional actions to help communities restore power and assist those impacted by the storm," Governor Cuomo said. "Given the number of outages, I have directed the Department of Public Service to investigate the utilities' preparations and response to the storms. We also ensured the utilities have deployed additional resources into the region from across the State, and we will continue to aggressively respond in the community until the recovery is complete."

New Yorkers should continue to pay close attention to their local weather reports throughout the weekend. For a complete listing of weather watches, warnings, advisories and latest forecasts, visit the National Weather Service website.

Department of Public Service
The Department of Public Service has been in regular contact with utility senior executives, and it is closely monitoring utility storm restoration efforts to ensure that utilities are minimizing outages and speeding outage restorations. The PSC's Call Center Helpline can be reached by calling 1-800-342-3377 to assist consumers in their storm preparation and restoration efforts.

Department of Transportation

566 Supervisors and Operators are available in the Western New York region and are prepared to respond. All Residency locations in affected areas will be staffed as needed for 24/7 operations throughout the duration of the event as well as during cleanup operations. Regional crews in affected areas will patrol State Highways to identify any tree or ice jam issues.

All available wind event response equipment in Western NY is ready to deploy, including:

  • 7 chippers
  • 6 traffic signal trucks
  • 1 tree crew bucket truck
  • 5 loaders with grapple.
  • 3 long reach excavators to clear ice buildup.

Motorists are also reminded that State Law mandates that if an intersection is "blacked out" and the traffic signal is not operational, the intersection is automatically an "all way" stop. In the event of closed or blocked roadways due to flooding, downed power lines or debris, motorists are advised to exercise caution and obey all traffic signs or barricades in place, regardless of whether a roadway looks clear.

State Police
The State Police is prepared to deploy additional Troopers as needed to affected areas, for response to any weather-related emergencies, and for requests to assist local law enforcement agencies.

If you are without power:

  • Call your utility first to determine area repair schedules. Turn off or unplug lights and appliances to prevent a circuit overload when service is restored. Leave one light on to indicate power has been restored. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to help reduce food spoilage.
  • If you have space in your refrigerator or freezer, fill plastic containers with water, leaving an inch of space inside each one. This will help keep food cold.

If you need to use a generator:

  • Before installing a generator, be sure to properly disconnect from your utility electrical service. If possible, have your generator installed by a qualified electrician. Run generators outside, downwind of structures. Never run a generator indoors. Deadly carbon monoxide gas from the generator's exhaust can spread throughout enclosed spaces.
  • Fuel spilled on a hot generator can cause an explosion. If your generator has a detachable fuel tank remove it before refilling. If this is not possible, shut off the generator and let it cool before refilling.
  • Do not exceed the rated capacity of your generator. Most small, home-use portable generators produce 350 to 12,000 watts of power. Overloading your generator can damage it and appliances connected to it, and may cause a fire. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Keep children away from generators at all times.

Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Do not operate generators indoors; the motor emits deadly carbon monoxide gas. Do not use charcoal to cook indoors. It, too, can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide gas.
  • Do not use your gas oven to heat your home -- prolonged use of an open oven in a closed house can create carbon monoxide gas.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm.


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