Customers of Unitil Corporation, (www.unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, are urged to prepare for the possibility of power outages associated with the merging of Hurricane Sandy with an incoming cold front. Based on today’s forecast, the storm, nicknamed “Frankenstorm” by local media outlets, is forecasted to impact the east coast of the United States early next week.
Unitil has secured additional resources from as far away Michigan, Tennessee and Canada in preparation for this storm. At this time we have approximately 260 crew resources including line crews, tree crews and damage assessors. Altogether, approximately 1,000 Unitil and non-Unitil personnel will be assembled as part of the response.
“One of the unique aspects of this storm is its size,” Unitil media relations manager Alec O’Meara said. “Regardless of where on the east coast Sandy makes landfall, the unique conditions associated with this storm suggest hundreds of miles of coastline will be impacted.”
Unitil will be communicating throughout the storm and restoration through Public Service Announcements (PSAs), 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.
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. Re-tweets and re-posting of old information without referencing a time can create confusion.
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
You can also report outages online here.
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 and avoid anything metal nearby which could potentially conduct electricity. Stay in a safe place and avoid driving in damaged areas so you don’t interfere with rescue and restoration efforts.
“As the storm nears, we will provide additional information regarding the opening of our emergency operations centers,” O’Meara said. “We will be in close contact with emergency responders and public officials regarding our preparations and efforts regarding restoration.”