Capital Region

Power restoration efforts nearing end

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Categories: News

National Grid crews were expecting to wrap up power restoration work for all except a handful of customers by Saturday night, utility officials said on Saturday.

Nearly 250,000 customers of the region’s largest power supplier lost service at some point after the brief but heavy wind and rain storm that swept across the region late Wednesday afternoon. The entire Capital Region saw uprooted trees, downed limbs, with many taking out electric service lines. Tens of thousands residents went without power into Friday, or even Friday evening.

Systemwide, National Grid reported there were still about 15,000 customers still without power Saturday morning, with parts of Glenville and Niskayuna still without power. By 6 p.m., the total outages had dropped close to 6,000, according to the utility’s power outage map. Most of the remaining outages were in the greater Albany area, Delmar, and Rensselaer County.

National Grid was also concerned about the potential for thunderstorms Saturday evening that could again knock out power, but said it had crews available to respond. The National Weather Service had a severe thunderstorm watch in place for Saratoga, Fulton and Montgomery counties, with the potential for 60 mph winds.

Wednesday’s storm was the highest windspeed event recorded in the Capital Region in October since modern recordkeeping began in 1987, the weather service said. In terms of damage, the weather service said only the May 15 storms that included a brief tornado in Saratoga County was comparable in 2020. That storm also caused widespread power outages.

National Grid said the 2,700 employees and contractors who have been working on restoration efforts have had to remove uprooted trees, tree limbs, and downed wires, which has slowed their progress. There was also extensive damage to utility equipment and facilities, including crews having to replace more than 150 poles that were broken by wind or debris.

On Saturday, outages were being addressed in the Albany/Schenectady/Troy area and around Cobleskill in Schoharie County. Dry ice to keep refrigerated foods cold was distributed both Friday and Saturday at locations including Crossgates Mall and the Schenectady County public works complex in Rotterdam.

New York State Electric & Gas, meanwhile, reported that restoration in its Mechanicville service territory, which was also hard-hit by the storm, was completed by late Friday.

Municipalities across the region are getting ready to pick up fallen limbs and other tree debris that residents put at the curb. Starting Tuesday, highway or public works departments in Schenectady, Glenville and many other communities will be picking up storm debris, with rules limiting the size of branches and limbs generally relaxed. Most communities want whatever material residents need to clear to be left at the curb by Monday evening.

Saratoga County Commissioner of Emergency Services Carl Zeilman offered high praise for both utility crews and local first-responders, whom he said have worked long hours on power restoration and responding to outage-related emergencies.