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Phone companies prepare for storm power outages

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm •  Published: February 8, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — Phone companies topped off fuel at cell-tower generators in Northeastern states Friday, preparing for a storm that could bring power outages, and with them, a loss of cell service.

Cell-towers are dependent on electric power from the grid, but many of them have backup batteries, and in some cases generators that can power the antennas independently for longer. Prolonged power outages, such as those after Superstorm Sandy, can bring down cell service in an area.

Verizon Wireless prides itself on having at least eight hours of backup power at all its cell towers, and spokesman Tom Pica said technicians were busy making sure the generators that kick in once batteries are depleted had fuel.

"We also contract with local (fuel) suppliers to ensure regular deliveries if there are extended commercial power issues, as we did during Sandy to positive effect," Pica said.

AT&T Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp. were making similar preparations, and lining up portable generators to truck out to cell towers with no permanent generators.

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