National Grid said Friday that it is ready for a forecasted snowstorm this weekend that could include heavy, wet snow that could cause power outages.
The company said it was preparing for the possibility of scattered power outages. And while the path of the storm was being monitored, crew assignments were being developed and equipment readied in anticipation of harsh weather.
“Our storm preparation started in earnest several days ago so we could make sure we are in the best position possible to respond quickly and safely to potential outages that may occur as a result of this storm,” said Kathy Lyford, vice president, New England Operations said in an announcement issued by the company on Friday. “We are continuing to monitor the track and severity of the storm so we can have crews staged in the areas we think will see the most impact."
The latest forecast is predicting the most impact could be felt in areas of the North Shore and the Merrimack Valley, the company said. National Grid serves electric and gas customers in Hamilton and Wenham. Some areas could see heavy wet snow which could result in tree limbs coming down on wires, the company said, and it has taken several steps to prepare for the possibility of power outages including:
- Activating the company's storm incident command system to coordinate preparation and restoration efforts throughout the event
- Contacting contractors with whom the company regularly works for storm support
- Planning to bring in additional resources and crews as needed
- Continuous monitoring of the storm, setting up staging areas and positioning resources to best respond to storm outages
- Reaching out to state, regional and local officials to inform them of plans and open the lines of communication
- Provide routine public updates
In addition to Outage Central, National Grid offers a number of ways for customers to report outages or learn about restoration efforts and important safety information. Here’s how:
- Outage reporting hotline – Customers in Hamilton and Wenham (and all of Massachusetts) can call 1-800-465-1212 to report an outage.
- Text messages - Customers can receive text message alerts and updates through a free service National Grid offers. Text the word STORM to NGRID (64743) to sign up for the service.
- National Grid uses social media – Facebook and Twitter -- to communicate with customers about service issues and interruptions during storms.
- 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.
- Customers can use their mobile devices to track outage information and storm related safety tips through National Grid’s new mobile site that can be accessed at nationalgrid.com.
National Grid wants everyone to stay safe before, during and after the storm. Here are some tips to help customers avoid injuries and stay safe:
- 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.
- 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.
- If you plan to 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.
- After the storm, be sure never to touch downed power lines, and always assume that any fallen lines are live electric wires. If you see a downed power line, keep everyone away and call us immediately at 1-800-465-1212.
- 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.
- Please leave damaged poles alone. Handling or cutting utility poles—or burning them in your fireplace, woodstove or furnace—potentially exposes you to the chemicals used to treat and preserve these poles.
- Please drive carefully and use caution when driving near any repair crews working to restore power.
- Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage.