With the peak hours of the storm now having passed, damage assessors have begun the next phase of restoration, with a major push planned to assess damage and restore power where currently possible.
Local media outlets are reporting as many as 2.5 million throughout the region without power following last night’s historic storm. Snow totals ranged from 5-7 inches on the seacoast of New Hampshire, 12-15 inches in central New Hampshire and up to 20 inches in north central Massachusetts.
As of 9 a.m. an estimated 63,611 of Unitil’s 103,000 electric customers system wide are reporting no power, down from an overnight peak of 70,000. Of those customers, 23,749 of Unitil’s 28,000 customers in Massachusetts are without power and 39,862 of Unitil’s 75,000 customers in New Hampshire are without power.
Approximately 300 crews, some from as far away as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Canada have been secured to assist with what is expected to be a multi-day restoration effort for the areas hit hardest by the storm, such as north central Massachusetts and the New Hampshireseacoast area. The crews provide specialized work and include line, tree, digger, damage assessment and wires down teams. Crews worked overnight on public safety issues in coordination with municipal emergency responders, while restoring power where possible.
No estimates on restoration time are expected until the damage assessment phase of the effort is complete. The damage assessment phase is a critical part of the restoration process.
“The region has been struck with a major weather event and it is important to stress patience while the damage assessment is ongoing.” Unitil Emergency Management Director Rich Francazio said. “Once damage assessment is complete, we will have a clear picture of how long it will take to restore power.”
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
Downed wires continue to remain a chief hazard due to the unique conditions caused by this storm. 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.