The blizzard that beared down on Long Island could knock out power for nearly 100,000 residents, National Grid President John Bruckner said at a press conference Friday.
However, he estimated that outages wouldn't last more than 24 hours.
So far, less than a handful of West Islip customers had lost power, according to the LIPA outage map.
Bruckner said the company has 700 high-voltage lineman and 250 tree-trimmers ready to act after the storm. In addition National Grid is upping the number of call-center personnel to provide better communication during and after the storm, Bruckner said.
National Grid has fully restocked its supplies of power lines, transformers and wires so that workers do not have to wait for shipments to come in, like they did during Superstorm Sandy.
“The resources we needed, we didn’t see until many days after Sandy. For this storm, they are on Long Island,” he said.
Bruckner also said that the company is monitoring the potential storm surge on Long Island’s North Shore, and has already sandbagged its equipment in case of flooding.
“We feel we’re in pretty good shape going into this storm,” Bruckner said.
The biggest concern for National Grid during the storm is not snow, but wind. Forecasters predict the winds will range from 30 to 40 miles per hour with howling gusts hitting 60 miles per hour.
“This is not a typical storm. Usually, a storm comes in and out in an hour or two. This storm will last a couple days,” he said.
Bruckner said that National Grid will have 1,000 personnel on the ground early Saturday to assess the damage. Critical care customers including hospitals, nursing homes and sewage treatment plants will be attended to first. After that, areas with the most outages will be the focus, and lastly, the parts of the island with the least amount of outages.
Bruckner also said that National Grid has supplied generators to fuel terminals, so that gas shortages that happened during Superstorm Sandy do not repeat.