Internal and third party crews working for Unitil Corporation, (www.unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, are standing by ready to work with first responders to assure public safety during the peak hours of today’s blizzard.
As of 6 a.m. Tuesday, there were no outages to report in any of Unitil’s service territories. Currently, Unitil has secured more than 100 crews system-wide, including bucket trucks, diggers, wires down teams and tree crews to provide assistance at each of its regional emergency operation centers.
“As forecasted, there were blizzard-like conditions during the overnight hours,” Unitil Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara said. “Our crews are prepared to address any wires down issues and outages that may occur as strong winds are still forecasted for most of the day. Bucket trucks will be unable to extend arms in sustained winds in excess of 35 mph, meaning conditions during the peak hours of the storm could delay restoration.”
Unitil will be communicating throughout the storm 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 our Twitter feed (@Unitil) and will be providing real-time outage information online at www.unitil.com/map.
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.
Heavy snow and icicles can have an impact on home meters, especially natural gas meters and vents. As snow accumulates, Unitil advises customers to take the following steps:
- Remove snow and ice carefully from a meter or outdoor appliance vent carefully with a broom. Do not use a shovel as it can damage the meter.
- Avoid shoveling or plowing snow up against or covering the meter or pipe.
- Remove icicles from overhead eaves and gutters to assure dripping water does not freeze the meter or vent pipe. Contact a qualified roofing vendor if you cannot reach icicles yourself.
- Do not kick your gas meter in an attempt to break ice off, as this too can cause damage.
Keeping vents and meters clear will allow for proper ventilation and can prevent carbon monoxide buildup within your home.
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.