Unitil Corporation, (www.unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, is urging customers to remain safe as a major winter storm pushes through the region tonight and tomorrow.
According to the most recent forecasts, as much as 10-18 inches of snow are possible in all regions, with the highest snowfall likely during the overnight hours. This snow is forecasted to be of normal-to-dry consistency, though some wetter snow may fall closer to the coast for a brief period. Gusty winds approaching 45 mph are also possible Monday morning as the snow tapers down.
“The high volume of snow combined with gusty winds is likely to create extremely poor visibility conditions, and motor vehicle accidents can cause outages for customers,” Unitil Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara said. “We urge customers to heed the advice of state and local officials and to stay off the roads during the peak hours of the storm if possible.”
Unitil has secured additional crew resources to respond to outages. At this time, Unitil does not plan to open its system or regional emergency operation centers, as snow consistency is expected to remain normal to dry for the majority of the event. However, Unitil will continue to monitor the storm’s track and consistency of the snow and will be prepared to escalate its response if warranted.
As snow accumulates, Unitil advises customers to take the following steps to keep meters and vents clear of snow and ice at their home:
- 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.
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 http://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://unitil.com/report-outage.