Unitil Corporation, (www.unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, is preparing for the possibility of blizzard-like conditions in all of its service territories tonight and into tomorrow.
According to the most recent forecasts, as much as 12-18 inches dry snow combined with wind gusts of 50 mph are possible in all service territories, with higher gusts possible in the Seacoast region. The peak hours of the storm are expected to begin tonight and last into tomorrow. While dry snow typically does not weigh down tree limbs, the winds and hazardous travel conditions may cause outages and the extreme weather conditions have the potential to slow restoration efforts as crews respond.
“Should we experience blizzard-like conditions, bucket trucks will be unable to extend arms due to high winds at the storm’s peak,” Unitil Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara said. “While conditions could delay restoration efforts as the storm progresses, Unitil is prepared for this weather event and we will still be able to work with first responders to address wires down calls and other public safety concerns during this period.”
Currently, Unitil has secured additional third party crews to provide assistance. We will continue to monitor the forecast and will be prepared to escalate its emergency operations if necessary.
Unitil will be communicating throughout the restoration 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 and our Twitter feed (@Unitil), and 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.
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.