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My Neighbor Has Power But Mine Is Out – What Gives?

Here in New England, occasional power outages are inevitable. Unitil is committed to restoring your service quickly, with public safety as our top priority.
power line and broken utility pole on ground

While our electric system has been designed and maintained to withstand small storms and interruptions, sometimes New England’s severe weather, accidents, and other unforeseen events can result in loss of power to our customers. These can range from small, localized outages to widespread damage to the region’s electrical system. At Unitil, our job is to restore your service quickly and safely, but there’s more to this process than meets the eye. Here, we talk about the process of restoring power and answer some frequently asked questions.

Safety First

Our top priority is ensuring public safety, both during and immediately after the storm. Before we can even begin to restore power to our customers, a full assessment of immediate and continued safety threats must be conducted. Downed wires, blocked roads, broken poles, and flooded streets are given careful consideration to ensure the safety of our crews, contractors, and emergency responders.

Damage Assessment

Once that has been taken care of, the process of damage assessment begins. A strategy is put in place to restore power as quickly as possible, starting with critical care facilities, municipal emergency operation centers, and large blocks of customers.


Depending on the severity of the damage, the restoration process can begin with aerial or visual surveys of transmission and sub-transmission lines, followed by gated substations. Main and secondary service lines that run along roads are addressed next, before any remaining individual homes and businesses. Repairs to the transmission lines and substations typically result in the largest number of customers being restored together. As restoration continues, the damage becomes more localized, requiring a greater number of resources and time to restore fewer customers. Smaller blocks of customers are restored next, followed by those customers with damage to their individual service drops.

Did you know? Squirrels and other animals are responsible for 10 to 20% of power outages each year.

Still in the Dark?

If you are still without service at this point in the process, this may indicate a separate problem at your home requiring an electrician to repair. When restoration is complete in an area, Unitil crews will investigate individual service issues reported by customers after the majority of issues have been cleared.

My neighbor has power and I don’t – what gives?

It could be that your neighbor is on a different circuit, but there could be trouble on just your section of the line or with the equipment that services you directly. The cause of the outage could also be an individual service problem at your home, unrelated to Unitil. Take a look at what equipment is your responsibility to maintain.

How do I report a power outage?

You can report your outage online or using our automated phone system at 1-888-301-7700. Our Customer Service team is also standing by. It's best to know your zip code and phone number associated with your account or your account number to report an outage.

What might cause a delay in restoring my power?

Obstacles blocking access to our power lines can slow the restoration process, including downed trees, blocked roads, unplowed or flooded streets, or dangerous situations. Several small scattered outages can be more time-consuming to repair because they involve individual stops to fix the localized issue before moving on to the next one.

Will Unitil notify me when the power to my home has been restored?

You can enable outage alerts by setting your communication preferences in your MyUnitil portal. Visit then navigate to "My Profile". You can also call our Customer Service Department at 1-888-301-7700 and we will enable email, text, or phone alerts on your behalf.

How do I report a fallen power line?

Customers should report a drooping or fallen power line by calling 1-888-301-7700. Learn more about our downed power lines process.

What if someone in my household relies on life-support equipment?

If you or a family member uses electric life support systems, we encourage you to submit a Physician’s Certification Form via secure fax or mail. With completed documentation, we’ll flag your account and notify you if we anticipate adverse weather or a scheduled power outage.