Unitil Corporation, (www.unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, is preparing for a snowstorm expected to impact all of its service territories tonight and into tomorrow.
According to the most recent forecasts, as much as 6-12 inches of snow are possible throughout Unitil’s electric service territories, as well as gusty winds and freezing rain in some areas. Depending on the consistency of the snow, this volume could be potentially damaging to tree limbs and to utility poles, meaning the possibility 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.
“Wetter, stickier snow can have a greater impact on the system compared to the drier, fluffier stuff,” Unitil Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara said. “We will be carefully watching the consistency of the snow, the changeover to rain and forecasted wind speeds overnight and into tomorrow, and we will be prepared to address outages, should they occur.”
Currently, Unitil has secured additional third party crews to provide assistance at each of its regional operation centers should the need arise. While there are no current plans to open the system-wide emergency operations center, Unitil staff will continue to closely monitor the forecast and will be prepared to escalate its response if warranted.
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 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.
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.
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.