Unitil Corporation, (www.unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, is escalating its response to a band of heavy wind passing through all service territories today.
As of 11 a.m., approximately 7,000 customers are without power. Of those, approximately 2,350 customers are out in Massachusetts and 4,650 in New Hampshire. There are currently multiple reports of wires down issues in both states due to the wind.
“The ground is soft and water saturated due to the thaw we’ve seen over the last several days,” Unitil Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara said. “The softer earth is allowing whole trees to come over, complicating restoration efforts. We have secured additional crews to assist with our response.”
Forecasts indicate winds will remain strong into the afternoon hours. Restoration is occurring where possible, though bucket trucks are unable to extend arms for safety reasons in high wind, further slowing response.
In the event of downed wires, assume all cables and wires that have fallen or dangling are energized and stay away. Be sure to avoid wet ground or puddles near a downed lined because water conducts electricity. In addition, keep away from all flooded and debris laden areas because they may be hiding downed lines. Stay in a safe place and avoid driving in damaged areas so you don’t interfere with rescue and restoration efforts.
Unitil will be communicating throughout the event through Public Service Announcements (PSAs), our website, our customer call center and through the media. We also encourage customers to follow along with our storm updates via Facebook, our Twitter feed (@Unitil) and we will be providing real-time outage information online at www.unitil.com/map.
We recommend our customers remain similarly prepared by checking and making an inventory of the following items:
- Flashlights and fresh batteries
- A battery-operated radio and clock
- Bottled water, canned foods and a manual can opener
- A list of important phone numbers and a car charger for cell phones if applicable
- A first aid kit.
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR MEDIA: Unitil asks that when reporting outage information, outlets time stamp the information. Outage numbers change hourly and we wish to make sure the information customers receive is consistent and understandable. Re-Tweets and re-posting of old information without referencing a time can create confusion.
Customers experiencing outages should call the following toll-free numbers:
- For the NH Seacoast Area: 1-800-582-7276
- For the NH Capital Area: 1-800-852-3339
- For Massachusetts: 1-888-301-7700
You can also report outages online at http://www.unitil.com/report-outage.