Unitil Corporation, (Unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers in New England, opened its System Emergency Operations Center at 6 AM this morning to coordinate response efforts after the region was hit with a long duration storm resulting in damage to the electric infrastructure from heavy wet snow.
As of 7:00 AM, approximately 4,455 customers are out of power, with 3,025 in Massachusetts, 1,430 in the New Hampshire. The storm came in several waves, dropping significant amounts of heavy, wet snow onto tree limbs and power lines over the course of the day, resulting in new outages as previous ones were restored. Crews are working closely with first responders to assist with public safety issues, such as downed wires and road closures, while working to restore power to customers where possible. Damage assessment will begin now that the storm has passed.
“This was a very different snow storm with multiple waves loading inches of heavy, wet snow onto already burden tree limbs. Our crews chased outages all day on Monday but new outages cropped up as soon as we restored others,” said Unitil Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara. “Fallen trees, downed wires, and broken utility poles require significant resources and repair time. Once our damage assessment is complete, we will have a clear understanding of how long it will take to restore power.”
Unitil secured additional crews from Canada who are assisting with restoration efforts. Based on the latest forecast we could potentially see an additional storm system late Wednesday into Thursday which could impact the restoration and potentially cause additional outages.
Heavy wet snow has the potential to damage trees and to take wires to the ground. We urge all to always assume all cables and wires have fallen or dangling are energized and stay away. Be sure to avoid wet ground or puddles near a downed lined, as 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.
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 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 and understandable. Re-Tweets and re-posting of old information without referencing a time can create confusion.
Customers experiencing outages should call 1-888-301-7700 or report online at unitil.com/report-outage.