Service outages are a fact of life for electric utilities and their customers, and 2012 brought them in spades for everyone affected by Superstorm Sandy.
The longest outages occurred in the Northeast last year, according to data compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and it should come as no surprise to anyone that Sandy played a substantial role in many of them. Utility Dive looked at the numbers and pulled out the 10 lengthiest outages from the EIA's list. Here's a rundown of who got hit the hardest:
1. LONG ISLAND, N.Y.
Utility/Power Pool Name: Long Island Power Authority (LIPA)
Duration: 337 hours
Hurricane Sandy and the Nor’Easter that followed it haunted the top 10 power outages for the year, so it’s no surprise the so-called “superstorm” showed up in the No. 1 spot. Over 632,000 Long Islanders were left in the dark after the storm knocked out power for Long Island Power Authority customers for two weeks. A workforce of over 15,000 eventually restored the power, replacing 4,500 poles and more than 2,100 transformer, and repairing around 400 miles of wire and 44 substations. LIPA and National Grid estimates put the cost of response and restoration between $800 and $850 million.
2. NIAGARA COUNTY, N.Y.
Utility/Power Pool Name: Somerset Operating Company
Duration: 288 hours, 30 minutes
A coal deficiency lead to a nearly two-week outage for Somerset Operating Company in July. From July 19-31, 675 customers were without power in Niagara County, N.Y.
3. WEST VIRGINIA
Utility/Power Pool Name: FirstEnergy Corp: Mon Power Company
Duration: 287 hours, 59 minutes
In another Hurricane Sandy-related outage, 208,000 West Virginians lost power from Oct. 29 through Nov. 9. Approximately 900 miles of transmission lines were damaged by the storm, requiring 1,100 Mon Power employees, contractors and outside utility crews to restore power.
4. GREATER NEW YORK CITY, N.Y.
Utility/Power Pool Name: Consolidated Edison Co-NY Inc.
Duration: 242 hours, 59 minutes
One of the most widely reported events during Hurricane Sandy’s landfall was a massive transformer explosion at a New York Con Ed plant. Around 818,000 New Yorkers lost power for 10 days as a result of the storm, and the company has since committed $250 million to post-Sandy upgrades meant to protect critical equipment in the event of another storm.
5. MARYLAND, WEST VIRGINIA
Utility/Power Pool Name: FirstEnergy Corp: Potomac Edison
Duration: 241 hours, 8 minutes
FirstEnergy's Potomac Edison customers were also hit hard by Sandy, as the storm affected around 150,000 customers served by the utility in Maryland and West Virginia. The storm affected a total of 1.2 million FirstEnergy customers.
6. EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA
Utility/Power Pool Name: FirstEnergy Corp: Met-Ed
Duration: 223 hours, 48 minutes
FirstEnergy’s Metropolitan Edison customers lost power for 9 days in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Nearly 2,000 workers from Met-Ed and other FirstEnergy utilities, as well as contractors, worked around the clock to restore power to the 270,000 affected in the 15-county Eastern Pennsylvania service area. Crews came from as far as California and Oregon to assist with restoration among all of FirstEnergy’s utilities.
7. MARYLAND, WEST VIRGINIA
Utility/Power Pool Name: FirstEnergy: Potomac Edison
Duration: 192 hours, 43 minutes
In June, four months before Hurricane Sandy caused trouble in the region, a huge severe thunderstorm called a “derecho” left 145,000 customers powerless for just over a week in Maryland and West Virginia. The company made water and ice available to those affected.
8. NEW JERSEY
Utility/Power Pool Name: PSE&G
Duration: 187 hours, 57 minutes
Hurricane Sandy left New Jersey’s biggest utility firm, Public Service Enterprise Group, with severely damaged infrastructure and as many as 1.7 million outages. Chief Executive Ralph Izzo said much of the damage from the worst outage in the company’s history was due to tidal surge. Power was restored after about 8 days, but the subsequent Nor’Easter, Athena, caused an additional 60,000 customers to lose power.
9. ATLANTIC CITY ELECTRIC SERVICE TERRITORY, N.J.
Utility/Power Pool Name: Atlantic City Electric
Duration: 184 hours, 18 minutes
June’s derecho also caused 206,000 customers of New Jersey’s Atlantic City Electric to lose electrical service. Winds exceeding 70 miles per hour downed trees, power lines and poles during the storm that Atlantic City Electric Regional President Vince Maione called “more severe” than Hurricane Irene.
10. GREATER CLEVELAND, OHIO
Utility/Power Pool Name: FirstEnergy Corp: CEI
Duration: 175 hours, 59 minutes
Yet another Hurricane Sandy outage closes the list, with 146,000 Greater Cleveland area customers losing power during a weeklong outage at FirstEnergy’s Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company. All together, FirstEnergy made one of the largest storm restoration efforts in the company’s history across its 10 utilities, with 19,000 employees, outside contractors and utility workers using 595 miles of cable and wire, 23,000 crossarms, 7,200 utility poles and 3,200 transformers in the restoration effort. The company’s total cost of restoration is likely in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
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