National Grid says it will have exact power restoration estimates by the end of Tuesday, according to company President Marcy Reed.
The estimates, which have always traditionally been offered when the company knows when each customer will have their power back, will be distributed “far and wide,” said Jackie Berry, a company spokeswoman.
There are a total of 2,400 National Grid employees at work on Tuesday afternoon statewide in Massachusetts, ranging from line crews, tree crews, transmission crews and other workers following Hurricane Sandy.
There are 530 total crews at work, with more than 300 of those from outside National Grid's service area.
In addition, the newly created “community liaisons” are at work in the emergency operations centers in each city and town that National Grid serves. They are in charge of working with police chiefs, Department of Public Works directors and others to manage each community’s priority list.
Reed said National grid crews from Massachusetts would leave to assist in Delaware, Long Island, New Jersey and other areas to the south affected by Hurricane Sandy only after finishing restoration efforts in Massachusetts.
“They are facing a massive challenge on that area,” Reed said. “When we are done we will absolutely end a hand.”
Yesterday, as winds were gusting to more than 50 miles per hour, Reed said the company was in “hurry up and wait” mode. Now that the wind has subsided, the company went into “full-force" damage assessment and restoration work as of 5 a.m.
At the peak, there were 237,000 National Grid customers without electricity statewide, and that number was down to 153,000 at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.
According to the National Grid website, 805 customers in Hamilton were without power Tuesday afternoon, accounting for 26.1 percent of the customers in town, and 264 customers in Wenham were without power, 17.6 percent of the customers in town.
“We’ll make very good progress for the rest of the day and into the night,” she said in a conference call with reporters.
Two things that Reed said have contributed to an improved response to outages after Hurricane Sandy, versus after last year’s Hurricane Irene and “Snowtober” pre-Halloween snowstorm, have been the community liaisons and the storm’s slow movement. The storm slow approach to New England gave crews from as far away from Georgia and Texas to get to Massachusetts before the storm hit.
When restoring power, Reed said transmissions lines are the first priority.
“Those are the backbone of our network,” she said, noting that eight hospitals in the state lost power during the storm and all eight of them were restored on Monday night.
Two major 100kv transmission lines were also knocked out and those have been restored, she said.