Dark clouds form on the horizon…winds whip up, thunder rumbles, and soon the first jagged forks of lightning pierce the sky. Summer heat can lead to thunderstorms and their lightning strikes and high winds can cause power outages. When trees are fully leafed there is greater wind resistance so high winds can cause branches to break and trees to fall -- sometimes on power lines. While no one can control the weather, you can be prepared for power outages.
Following these easy steps can help ensure your family’s safety and comfort during a summer power outage:
A storm kit should contain key items that will be essential during a power outage. Keep your family’s storm kit easily accessible and label it. The following items should go in one easy-to-grab plastic box:
Be sure to stay away from any downed power lines that you may encounter on or near your property after a storm. No power line is safe and you should consider any downed line "live" and wait for a Unitil crew to arrive to clear the area and fix the issue. Click here for more safety tips on downed power lines.
When storms are forecast, Unitil’s Operations Center monitors the weather for the latest updates and puts line crews on standby. The minute an outage is reported, our response teams spring into action with line crews dispatched within minutes to work on restoring electricity. Our Call Center’s phone lines have been expanded to the point where we can retrieve 85 percent of calls in fewer than 20 seconds. In addition, our automated phone system allows us to field over 100 outage calls at the same time. In the field, our damage assessment teams provide detailed information efficiently and swiftly, allowing us to produce accurate estimates of when power will be restored. We periodically provide outage updates here and via Twitter.
At Unitil, we’re thinking about storms all the time. A key part of our efforts is to prevent power outages from happening in the first place. We maintain nearly 1,900 miles of power lines and utility poles throughout our service territories. Consequently, our crews are in the communities we serve every day. They check and maintain our distribution systems to make sure everything is in good working order. We also stay on top of the latest technology to ensure a reliable power supply and upgrade our equipment regularly. In addition, our distribution system has safeguards that you don’t see, such as backup systems which help us reroute power even if one system fails. With so many miles of power lines, our tree trimming program runs year-round. A major part of ensuring a reliable power supply is keeping trees and vegetation trimmed away from power lines. Branches rubbing against power lines, or storms bringing down limbs and trees cause up to 90% of power outages. Careful cutting of selected limbs helps prevent storm trouble. Our tree pruning practices have been thoroughly reviewed to make sure we fully meet industry standards throughout our service territory. View our vegetation management policies here.
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