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Power Companies Urge Safety Precautions As Hurricane Sandy Approaches

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City area power companies have issued warnings to heed safety precautions as the Hurricane Sandy "Frankenstorm" approaches.

Con Edison said in a news release Saturday that is prepared for the possibility that the storm could damage both its overhead and underground power lines.

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The hurricane could also rip down trees that could topple trees into overhead lines and transformers, cutting power to numerous customers, Con Ed said.

Con Ed is also considering the possibility that it might have turn off underground electrical distribution equipment if low-lying areas such as Lower Manhattan get flooded. Shutting down equipment can prevent extensive damage, and allow the company to restore power more quickly, Con Ed said.

The company might also have to halt steam service to some buildings.

Con Ed will dispatch extra crews to respond to any problems with electrical, gas or steam service. The company will have crews working around the clock to resolve power, bolstered by 500 outside utility contractors.

ConEd emphasized that anyone who sees downed electrical wires must stay away, and treat them as if they are live. Downed wires should be reported to Con Ed and the local police department right away.

During an outage, customers should turn off all lights and appliances to prevent circuit overload when power is restored. Any flashlights or battery-operated radios should be checked to make sure they are still working.

Anyone who wishes to report downed power lines or outages, or to check service restoration status, can go to or call (800) 75-CONED.

Meanwhile, the Long Island Power Authority has advised customers to be prepared for outages that could last seven to 10 days. The company has set up a Web site with information.

LIPA advises that customers might not see restoration crews working in their neighborhoods right away after the storm, but crews will perform damage surveys as soon afterward as possible.

LIPA customers are asked to pre-register their cell phones so they can report outages and receive restoration via text. To register, LIPA says, customers should text REG to 695472 (myLIPA), and to report an outage, customers should text OUT to the same number.

LIPA customers without power can also call (800) 490-0075.

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