National Grid Continues Work To Restore Power In Tiverton And Little Compton

February 10, 2013 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips


National Grid restored power to nearly half of all Tiverton and Little Compton customers on Saturday after Blizzard Nemo caused massive damage to its electrical system in southeastern Massachusetts and cut power to all East Bay customers.

Although the power company is warned that some customers could wait days for electricity to be restored, more than 2,000 crews are working overtime to gain access to transmission lines and restoration efforts will be continuous.

As the Blizzard of 2013 hit New England with full force yesterday and through this morning, delivering up to two feet of snow and hurricane force winds, National Grid met the storm with a full complement of crews, plans and preparations. The storm left significant damage in some areas, particularly southern Rhode Island and the South Shore and southeastern Mass. At the height of the storm, a total of more than 350,000 customers were without power in both states.   As of 3 p.m. today, that number was reduced to approximately 307,000 customers – 131,000 in Mass. and 176,000 in Rhode Island.

The high winds and horizontal snow generated more than 2,000 reports of wires down in Rhode Island and 1,400 in Massachusetts.  National Grid’s high-voltage transmission system in both states also sustained significant damage. These are the lines that deliver power from generating stations to communities; they serve large numbers of customers. 

In total, National Grid has more than 2,000 crews – including in-house personnel and crews from 26 states and two Canadian provinces – dedicated to the restoration effort. Crews are in the field addressing National Grid’s first priority – downed wires.  Other personnel are conducting damage assessment, and still others are working to restore power to the transmission lines, some of which are in very remote areas.  Continued high wind gusts, along with impassible roads are creating challenging conditions for the workers in the field.  Crews are working with the National Guard and local communities to get access to these areas.

According to Kathy Lyford, vice president of New England Operations for National Grid, all Massachusetts customers outside of Norfolk and Plymouth counties should have power within 24 hours.  Given the extensive damage to the electric system in Norfolk and Plymouth counties in Massachusetts and across Rhode Island, it will be at least a few days before all customers will have their power back in those areas.  As the damage assessors continue to report in, Lyford expects to have estimated restoration times for the two hardest hit Massachusetts counties and Rhode Island later today.  It is important to note that these “ETRs” will reflect the timing of when the final customers will be restored.  Customers will get their power back on an ongoing basis in the meantime.

“As the storm exits and we begin our restoration efforts, we do so with safety for our employees and our customers first and foremost in our minds,” said Kathy Lyford, vice president, New England Operations, National Grid. “With so many lines down as a result of the high winds and wind-blown snow, we urge our customers to use caution and not approach any downed lines.”  Lyford continued, “We are working hand in hand with state and local officials so that we can restore power as quickly and safely as possible, and we appreciate our customers’ patience.” 

Emergency Response Planning

Our emergency crews use a standard procedure to begin restoring service as safely and quickly as conditions allow following a major storm.  Accurate damage surveys, resource assessments and restoration estimates are critical first stages, while transparent and consistent communications to National Grid customers, local officials and the media is maintained.

  • First, 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.


Staying Safe After the Storm

Here are some tips to help electric and natural gas customers avoid injuries and stay safe:

  • 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.  Be sure to use other heat sources such as fireplaces and space heaters safely.
  • If you lost 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.
  • 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.

Natural gas customers also need to take precautions:

  • Be sure to clear snow away from vents and exhaust ducts of appliances such as water heaters, ranges and clothes dryers.
  • Use caution when removing snow from roofs to ensure it does not fall on and damage the gas meter.
  • Never burn wood or coal in an indoor area without proper venting. Portable gas and charcoal grills intended for outside use should never be used indoors, or even inside an open garage.
  • Never run a car in an attached garage, even with the garage door open.  Car exhaust contains co and is the leading cause of co fatalities.
  • Never use your gas range to heat your apartment, or house. Your range’s oven and top burners are designed to cook your food, not to heat your home. Prolonged use can reduce oxygen levels in the home and contribute to unusually excessive levels of carbon monoxide.

Customers Urged to Keep in Touch

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 – Massachusetts and Rhode Island customers can call 1-800 465-1212 to report an outage.
  • Text messages – 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.
  • 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


National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE:NGG) is an electricity and gas company that connects consumers to energy sources through its networks. The company is at the heart of one of the greatest challenges facing our society – to create new, sustainable energy solutions for the future and developing an energy system that underpins economic prosperity in the 21st century. National Grid holds a vital position at the center of the energy system and it ‘joins everything up’.

In the northeast US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles. In Great Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country.

National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. It manages the electricity network on Long Island under an agreement with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), and owns over 4,000 megawatts of contracted electricity generation, providing power to over one million LIPA customers. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

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