Northeast utilities scramble to restore power to thousands after Winter Storm Stella

Dive Brief:

  • More than 200,000 residents found themselves without power from Virginia to the New England area as Winter Storm Stella swept up the Eastern Seaboard yesterday. 
  • Utilities in the New England and Mid-Atlantic states reported downed poles and power lines. New Jersey utility PSE&G said they restored power to more than 40,000 residents since the storm began yesterday, and repaired multiple downed power lines and dealt with fallen trees. 
  • While this nor'easter isn't the biggest storm to wreak havoc on the East Coast, it illustrates the threat extreme weather events pose to the grid. Scientists warned in the past weather events like Winter Storm Stella will rise in the upcoming decades.

Dive Insight:

Utilities are no doubt busy repairing the damage left by Winter Storm Stella yesterday. With 50 MPH winds and a mix of sleet and snow, media reports said crews couldn't fix felled poles and downed power lines in some parts of Northeastern states. 

Massachusetts reported more than 60,000 outages yesterday. But according to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, less than 1,000 are without power today as of 10:30 a.m. 

New York utility Consolidated Edison tweeted that it restored power to 1,350 customers in the New York City metro area, with 470 customers to go by 4 p.m. Tuesday night. And Alabama Power sent crews to Long Island, New York to help clean up the storm's aftermath.  

In New Jersey, PSE&G said last night it was still working to restore power to 6,000 customers, and added 150 linemen to its own workforce to speed up repairs.

The nor'easter didn't appear to leave as much lasting damage compared to other storms such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Washington D.C.-based utility Pepco said it restored power to 20,400 people within 18 hours yesterday, mobilizing roughly 1,300 crew members to restore power and clean up the aftermath. 

The nor'easter came after the region experienced a burst of warm weather, and brought costal flooding to parts of New Jersey and Delaware, according to the Associated Press. It dumped at least two feet of snow in parts of Pennsylvania and the Northeast. While parts of Virginia did experience some big outages toward the beginning, most of the region escaped the heavy snow that blanked the Northern states. 

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Filed Under: Transmission & Distribution Corporate News
Top image credit: Flickr; Kelly Sikkema