New Englanders without power should plan on the likelihood to be without power for multiple days while restoration continues throughout the region following last’s night’s snowstorm.
The Northeast Mutual Assistance Group (NEMAG), a coalition of regional utilities formed to assist with the sharing of resources in an emergency, is reporting that approximately 1.9 million customers are without power in New England and the Canadian Maritimes. 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 1:30 p.m. an estimated 63,782 of Unitil’s 103,000 electric customers system wide are reporting no power, down from an overnight peak of approximately 75,000. Of those customers, 24,732 of Unitil’s 28,000 customers in Massachusetts are without power and 39,050 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 Hampshire seacoast area. The crews provide specialized work and include line, tree, pole-setting, damage assessment and wires down teams. Crews worked overnight on public safety issues in coordination with municipal emergency responders, while restoring power where possible.
“To give some context to the damage we are seeing in the field, Unitil has responded to and processed more than 400 separate requests from first responders regarding wires down situations, 300 of which were in the four Massachusetts towns we serve,” Unitil Emergency Management Director Rich Francazio said. “We were prepared for this type of damage and had the manpower on hand to respond to these requests as part of our first phase of restoration.”
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
Customers who use portable generators during power outages must do so safely. Otherwise, the result could be far worse than the loss of electricity: injury or death to you, someone else or a line worker.
An improperly installed or positioned generator can cause exhaust, containing deadly carbon monoxide, to accumulate in your dwelling. In addition, such generators can “backfeed” electricity into the distribution lines and electrical equipment, seriously injuring or electrocuting a line worker or anyone who may touch a now-energized line thought to be dead. More important safety messages on generator usage can be found online at Unitil.com.