Unitil Corporation, (www.unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, will be opening its emergency operations center at noon today in response to a major winter snowstorm impacting the region today and into tomorrow.
According to the most recent forecasts, as much as 16-20 inches of snow are possible in all regions. The storm track moved eastward overnight, increasing the potential for wet snow on the coast and in the Fitchburg, Massachusetts region. Gusty winds approaching 35-45 mph are also possible during the peak hours of the storm.
Unitil plans to open its system Emergency Operations Center to aid in coordinating the additional crews brought on to assist with outages, should they occur. The higher volume of wet snow increases the potential for outages with this event, and the high volume of snow will make travel difficult.
“With snow falling at a high rate in the afternoon, it will be important to make sure vents and meters stay clear of snow and ice at home,” Unitil Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara said. “Have a plan as you remove snow from your property and try to avoid piling it up around key infrastructure.”
As snow accumulates, Unitil advises customers to take the following steps:
- Remove snow and ice carefully from a meter or outdoor appliance vent carefully with a broom. Do not use a shovel as it can damage the meter.
- Avoid shoveling or plowing snow up against or covering the meter or pipe.
- Remove icicles from overhead eaves and gutters to assure dripping water does not freeze the meter or vent pipe. Contact a qualified roofing vendor if you cannot reach icicles yourself.
- Do not kick your gas meter in an attempt to break ice off, as this too can cause damage.
Unitil will be communicating throughout the event 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 Facebook, our Twitter feed (@Unitil), and we 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
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:
You can also report outages online at http://www.unitil.com/report-outage.