HICKSVILLE, N.Y. - Just one blown fuse is enough to cut power to hundreds of PSEG Long Island customers. FOX 5 NY got a tour of PSEG's lineman training facility in Hicksville to learn more about why the power goes out and how it gets restored.
Peter Boykevisch has been with PSEG for more than three decades. The first-class lineman and lead trainer said that when it comes to outages, no two are the same — especially in the elements.
"Outages a lot of times during a storm [can be] tree damage, broken poles," he said.
And to turn the lights back on is not just flipping a switch. A lot more is involved. Workers have to identify whether the problem is a fuse, transformer, or broken line.
Pat Hession, senior director of T&D Ops, said the average restoration takes 70 minutes but can take days depending on the issue. Smart switches on poles have helped speed up restoration by automatically redirecting power to unaffected circuits.
"That same outage seven years ago would've affected, say, 2,000 customers," Hession said. "Today, it impacts 500 customers when it happens."
Lightning strikes are one of the most complicated scenarios, especially when dealing with underground line repairs.
"It could damage the cable, could cause a surge into the transformer, could cause a transformer to fail," lineman trainer Jody Vaughn said.
Other challenges of the job include wearing rubber gloves and sleeves, which makes tightening wire connectors and using tools much harder.
Restoring power is prioritized based on the size of the outage and critical facilities in the area.
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