Unitil Corporation, (www.unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers throughout New England, is preparing for the potential for a high-impact winter storm Saturday evening and into Sunday in all service territories.
According to the most recent forecasts, as much as 8-12 inches of heavy wet snow could fall with winds expected in excess of 20-30 miles per hour Saturday evening into Sunday. Such a storm this early in the season can have an elevated impact on electrical infrastructure compared to mid-winter or early spring. While most interruptions are for relatively short periods of times, substantial damage to the electrical system can extend the restoration period.
“The key issue is that there are still a substantial number of leaves on all the trees locally. Leaves fall off in the winter for a reason, and the extra surface area will allow even more snow to stick to limbs,” Unitil Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara said. “All of that extra weight has the potential to cause healthy, normally non-threatening trees to fail, leading to additional outages.”
Unitil is in the process of reaching out for additional resources to prepare for the arrival of this unique storm. 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: 1-800-582-7276
- For the NH Capital Area: 1-800-852-3339
- For Massachusetts: 1-888-301-7700
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.
“With Halloween this weekend, there is a possibility for higher pedestrian traffic than normal following a snowstorm,” O’Meara said. “We urge all customers to be aware of the potential for downed wires and to stay safe in the hours during and after the coming storm.”
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 regarding progress.