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National Grid Prepares for Action as Forecasts Call for Strong Wind Across New England

Company urges ‘safety first’ in the event of wind damage; crews and equipment prepped in advance of strong weather front.

As customers across New England hunker down for what is forecasted to be an extremely windy day, National Grid crews and support personnel are prepping in the event strong winds cause damage to the region’s electrical network.

High wind watches and warnings have been issued for later today and overnight across the region, with predictions of strong and possibly damaging winds in many areas combined with potentially heavy rain.   

As a result, National Grid crews and support staff have been put on alert and are prepared to respond in the event of service interruptions.

“Our first priority is always the safety of the public, our customers, and our employees,” said Kathy Lyford, National Grid vice president of electric operations in New England.  “We have been tracking this front, and preparedness plans are in place to make sure our crews are ready to respond as quickly and safely as possible.”

National Grid officials work proactively with communities and municipal officials throughout the region to keep them updated on preparations and provide contact and safety information that can be passed along to constituents in the event of severe damage from the winds.

National Grid provides a number of channels for customers to learn about service issues and interruptions during storms.  Customers can receive text message alerts and updates through a free service the company offers.  Text the word STORM to NGRID (64743) to sign up for the service.  E-mail alerts are also available to customers who create an online profile on the company’s website.  All alert services can be started and stopped at the customer’s request.  National Grid also provides storm and restoration updates through Facebook and Twitter.

National Grid advises customers to be prepared as strong, sustained winds can cause local electrical service interruptions. It’s a good idea to have a number of working flashlights, at least one battery-operated radio and an extra supply of batteries in your home. A radio is a good way to stay in touch, as National Grid provides news media with timely information regarding service restoration efforts.

Also, post National Grid’s emergency outage reporting number—1-800-465-1212—near your telephone so it will be handy if needed. National Grid provides real-time outage information, including the option to report an outage at www.nationalgridus.com in the Outage Central section of the company web pages.

National Grid offers the following tips for customers to minimize inconvenience and maximize safety in the event that storm-related power interruptions do occur.

  • Never touch downed power lines, and always assume that any fallen lines are live electric wires. If you see one, report it immediately to National Grid or your local emergency response organization.
  • If you use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to only operate it outdoors. Before operating generators, be sure to disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker located in the electric service panel.  Failure to do this could jeopardize crew safety.
  • If you lose power, turn off any appliances that were on when the power went off, but leave one light on so you will know when power is restored.
  • Power problems can sometimes interrupt public water supply systems or disable well pumps, so it’s an especially good idea to keep a supply of bottled drinking water handy, as well as some canned food.
  • People who depend on electric-powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should let National Grid know. To register as a life support customer, call the company’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-322-3223.
  • National Grid customers who experience outages should call National Grid’s outage line at 1-800-465-1212 immediately to expedite restoration.
  • Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage period.

Time-Tested Plan Restores Power Quickly

When a power outage occurs in your neighborhood, it may in fact be affecting thousands of customers. How do we get customers back on line?

National Grid emergency crews follow a time-tested plan to begin restoring service as safely and quickly as conditions allow.  Accurate damage surveys, resource assessments and restoration estimates are critical in the preliminary stages of any major weather event.  National Grid crews perform damage surveys as soon as possible during and after the weather-related incidents following established safety guidelines.  Credible and consistent communication with local public officials and the media is maintained throughout the duration of the restoration effort by in-person updates between National Grid personnel and state and local officials, regular media updates, and updates to Outage Central.

As damage assessments are underway, our crews clear away hazards such as live, downed lines.  The clean-up of storm-damaged trees and branches removed from our electric facilities remains the responsibility of the customer or property owner, whether private or municipal.   

Next come repairs to main transmission facilities, including towers, poles and high-tension wires that deliver power from generating plants.  Recovery work at local substations is also a high priority, because power flows from transmission lines through substations on its way to you.

Circuits and transformers in neighborhoods and the wires that connect them to your home come next—starting with areas that involve the most customers.  While waiting for your power to return, please know that we’re doing everything we can to restore electric service as quickly as possible.

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