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Unitil plans to open its system and regional emergency operations centers at 6 p.m.
October 29, 2011
Hampton, NH

Unitil Corporation, (www.unitil.com), a provider of natural gas and electricity to customers throughout New England, is opening its system-wide and all regional emergency operation centers at 6 p.m. tonight in order to coordinate its response to tonight’s event. 

 

According to the most recent forecasts, as much as 8-12 inches of heavy wet snow could fall with sustained winds in excess of 30-35 miles per hour and potential gusts up to 50 mph Saturday evening into Sunday. Such a storm this early in the season can have an elevated impact on electrical infrastructure compared to mid-winter or early spring due to leaves still on the trees creating a greater surface area for heavy wet snow.  We are expecting substantial damage to the electrical system, which can extend the restoration period. Barring a change in the forecast, the above weather conditions have the potential to cause extensive damage requiring a multi-day effort in order to restore power safely.

 

Unitil has secured more than 300 field crews and over 1000 people working the event system-wide to respond to any outages which may be caused by this unique weather event and is continuing to reach out to third party contractors. Should the storm continue on its current track, the early overnight hours will be spent assuring the safety of the public by working with first responders to clear wires brought down by the storm.

 

“The high volume of wet, heavy snow expected to fall has the potential to cause extensive damage to the local electrical infrastructure,” Unitil Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara said. “Should this scenario unfold as forecasted, the first 24 hours of this restoration event would be spent working closely with first responders on public safety issues and assessing the total damage to the system.”     

 

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: 1-800-582-7276
  • For the NH Capital Area: 1-800-852-3339
  • For Massachusetts: 1-888-301-7700

 

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.

 

Unitil will work quickly and efficiently to restore power in the event of a widespread outage and will have additional crews staged to respond to storm damage. In the meantime, we ask for our customers’ patience and understanding should there be a disruption in power, and we will provide regular updates to local media outlets regarding progress.  We also encourage customers to follow us on Twitter @Unitil for continuous updates and important safety information or text “follow Unitil” to 40404 to receive storm tweets via text.  Standard text rates apply.

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About Unitil Corporation

Unitil Corporation provides energy for life by safely and reliably delivering natural gas and electricity in New England. We are committed to the communities we serve and to developing people, business practices, and technologies that lead to the delivery of dependable, more efficient energy. Unitil Corporation is a public utility holding company with operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Together, Unitil’s operating utilities serve approximately 105,600 electric customers and 82,700 natural gas customers. For more information about our people, technologies, and community involvement please visit https://unitil.com.


For more information please contact:
Alec O'Meara

Media Relations Manager
OMeara@unitil.com
Phone: 603-773-6404

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