Unitil Corporation, (www.unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers throughout New England, is preparing for a potential ice event in its capital region beginning early Friday morning and into the midday hours.
According to the most recent forecasts, as much as 0.25-0.5 inch of ice accretion is possible in and around the Concord, New Hampshire region due to freezing rain conditions beginning after midnight tonight. This volume of ice is considered hazardous to tree limbs and to utility poles, meaning the potential for electric outages exists for this event. While most interruptions are for relatively short periods of times, substantial damage to the electrical system can extend the restoration period.
Currently, Unitil plans to open its region-specific emergency operations center in Concord, New Hampshire in order to coordinate approximately 50 Unitil and third-party contractor crews brought into the region to assist with any restoration effort. The Concord emergency operations center will open at 5 a.m.. Unitil serves approximately 29,000 electric customers in Concord and its surrounding communities.
While the current forecast poses the greatest concern to the Concord region, Unitil is prepared to deal with the impacts of the storm in all of its service territories should the forecast change.
“Ice damage is extremely difficult to predict due to the very specific weather conditions needed to cause significant accretion,” Unitil Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara said. “Unitil is prepared to address outages, should they occur, as a temperature change of only a degree or two can change the forecast significantly.”
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.
Customers experiencing outages should call the following toll-free numbers:
- For the NH Seacoast Area: 800-582-7276
- For the NH Capital Area: 800-852-3339
- For Massachusetts: 888-301-7700
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.
Unitil will work quickly and efficiently to restore power in the event of a widespread outage and will have additional crews staged to respond to storm damage. In the meantime, we ask for our customers’ patience and understanding should there be a disruption in power, and we will provide regular updates to local media outlets and via Twitter (@Unitil) regarding progress.