To Our Valued Customers
The historic northeast blackout last month was a test of enormous proportions for Freeport Electric and all of our customers. Thank you all for your patience and understanding as all the operations and line crews of Freeport Electric worked to restore your power and keep the lights on until our interconnection with LIPA was restored. Minutes after the blackout hit, off-duty staff of Freeport Electric started arriving on their own initiative ready to help wherever needed. Our staff - your family, friends, and Freeport neighbors - worked with little or no rest over 24 hours to restore and maintain your power.
It was a typical a summer afternoon. Freeport customers were drawing approximately 54 MW of electricity when the blackout hit, most of which is supplied from sources outside the Village (NYPA hydro-electric power and other market sources) and approximately 8 MW from in-Village generation. Obviously, our connection to those out-of-Village resources was severed when we were disconnected from the LIPA system. Freeport Electric immediately reacted to bring in-Village generation online. The first unit was up and running only 8 minutes after the blackout hit. Over the next two-and-a-half hours, all units were brought online.
Freeport Electric is grateful for the cooperation and constant communication we had with the Village Police, Fire, and Emergency Management Departments, as well as the other departments who provided personnel to notify customers. Thank you also for understanding that we faced hard decisions through the next day. It was critical to keep power supplied to protect public health and safety, to our traffic controls, water supply for drinking and fire protection, for sewage management, as well as to priority customers who have significant health problems or rely on life-support equipment. During rolling blackouts scheduled through Friday, the inconvenience of an hour without power allowed us to restore your power for the next three or more hours. These rolling blackouts allowed us to manage the load through the Village and avoid any further outages. Thank you also for your cooperation in reducing your energy consumption during the crisis, shutting off lights, AC and large appliances.
Freeport is extremely fortunate to have in-Village generation capability. Without it, power would have remained out until 1 am Saturday (approximately 30 hours) when our LIPA connection was restored. When the new generation project is completed at Power Plant 2, we will have enough generating capacity to meet demand without having to institute rolling blackouts.
Truly, in the Blackout of 2003, the Village of Freeport stood out as an oasis of light in a sea of darkness.
Hubert M. Bianco
Superintendent of Electric Utilities
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