The prospect of a new massive snow storm heading toward Massachusetts has energy providers warning their customers about potential outages.
Energy companies Eversource, National Grid and UNITIL all notified their customers that they are mobilizing in preparation for Monday’s nor’easter heading toward New England while also keeping customers aware that power outages remain very possible.
The National Weather Service warned of potential power outages caused by heavy winds blowing down trees and branches in their high wind and winter weather warnings. Along the Massachusetts coast and the Cape, winds could reach as high as 25 to 35 mph with gusts peaking at 60 mph, while winds in the interior could reach 45 to 60 mph in Central Massachusetts and 35 to mph along the edge of Western Massachusetts.
“With a powerful nor’easter expected to hit New England Monday night through Wednesday, Eversource is closely monitoring the weather forecast and is ready for the heavy, wet snow and strong winds that are expected to impact Massachusetts,” Eversource emailed customers Monday.
The provider also said it also brought in out-of-state crews to help in any potential effort to restore power. In a tweet, they warned that heavy wet snow and strong winds could bring trees and their branches down, knocking out power lines and causing outages to occur.
Customers were asked to report any outage online at Eversource.com or by calling 800-592-2000 in Eastern Massachusetts or 877-659-6326 in Western Massachusetts. Customers who signed up for the company’s two-way texting feature can send a text to report an outage and receive outage updates as they happen.
National Grid’s email to customers said the provider activated its comprehensive emergency response plan and increased staffing to “include line, tree and public safety crews that will be pre-positioned in areas expected to experience the greatest impact.” They also tweeted out a link to their outage map for New York and Massachusetts customers, along with Rhode Island Energy users.
On their website, National Grid said it was “securing more than 1,000 field-based crews and over 3,000 personnel as part of the company’s emergency response operations,” including overhead line, forestry, contractors, underground, damage assessment, wires down, transmission and substation workers.
They also emailed safety tips for electric and gas customers, along with how to stay connected with outage alerts by texting REG to 64743. Once registered, text OUT to 64743 to report any outages or STAT to check the status of an outage. Users can also report outages online or call 1-800-465-1212. Call that same number or 911 immediately if you encounter a downed line, National Grid said.
UNITIL warned customers about the wind and snow risks, along with hazardous driving conditions. The provider said it secured third-party crews to help customers should outages occur, and also will open system and regional emergency operation centers on Tuesday.
“We are currently expecting a long-duration event, with hazardous conditions possible for a 36-hour period as this storm passes to our east,” UNITIL Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara said in a statement. “Crews will be restoring power where possible and when conditions allow, and we will be working with first responders to address public safety issues as they arise throughout the event.”
UNITIL recommended staying prepared with an inventory of flashlights and fresh batteries, portable chargers, bottled water, canned foods, a manual can opener and a first aid kit. Customers experiencing outages are asked to call 1-888-301-7700 or report online at unitil.com/report-outage.
Avoid wet ground or puddles in proximity to a downed line, UNITIL warned. Stay away from any flooded and debris-ridden areas that could be hiding a downed line. UNITIL recommends staying in one place and avoiding driving in any damaged areas so as not to interfere with rescue or restoration efforts.
Bay State residents can also monitor power outages by visiting the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency’s outage map.
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