National Grid Ready to Respond to Effects of Sandy in New England
As Sandy bears down on New England, National Grid is ready to respond to power outages and for natural gas service interruptions. National Grid crews, along with supplemental line and tree crews from 31 states and two Canadian provinces are ready to tackle power outages. Company officials have been preparing for the possibility of a major storm hitting the region since early last week when forecasters began thinking that Sandy might eventually affect the Northeast. National Grid is expecting a second wave of supplemental crews to arrive once the storm passes and crews from other utilities are available through the industry’s mutual aid system.
“We want customers to know that a storm of Sandy’s magnitude can cause extensive damage to our electricity and natural gas systems, so we have been urging them to prepare for outages potentially lasting for an extended period of time,” said Kathy Lyford, National Grid vice president of New England Operations. “We also want everyone to be safe during and after the storm, and we have been reaching out to customers to advise them how to do that.”
As of 1 p.m. on Monday, crews are responding to weather-related outages in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They will continue to work while it remains safe to do so. During the height of the storm, in the interest of safety, restoration will be temporarily suspended until conditions again become safe.
While National Grid has been preparing for Sandy for a week, storm and emergency planning is a year-round activity for the company. Every one of National Grid’s 16,000 U.S. employees has a storm assignment for which they previously have been trained so they are ready to be activated in a major storm such as this one.
Safely and effectively restoring service to customers in a storm of this magnitude requires more than line and tree crews. The field workers must be fed and housed, and staging areas are needed across the region so that crews can be dispatched locally. “Wires-down” and damage appraisal personnel play a critical role in keeping the public safe and prioritizing restoration work. Materials need to be delivered to the staging areas, and a host of other key functions are required to support the restoration effort. Other employees will support the natural gas restoration effort if there are outages on that system.
Community liaisons – employees who work with every community National Grid serves in Massachusetts and Rhode Island – also have been identified and trained. The liaisons serve as a direct communications conduit between local emergency management officials and National Grid to help facilitate local issues and restoration work.
National Grid also has invested millions of dollars over the past year upgrading restoration processes, equipment and employee development and training.
Safety is Paramount
National Grid wants customers to stay safe and offers the following tips for use during the storm and while power or natural gas service is being restored:
• In New England, report power outages by calling our Customer Service outage line toll-free at 1-800-465-1212 or by logging on to our website www.nationalgridus.com and clicking on the Outage Central page; customers also can use this address to access National Grid’s mobile website
• Refrain from calling 911 except for emergency situations • Consider all down wires to be live, keep away, and report them to National Grid immediately
•Never use a generator indoors, always disconnect the main breaker when the generator is operating and be sure to read and follow all of the manufacturer’s operating and safety instructions
• If your cellar floods, keep out of standing water
• Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage period.
• Call 211 for shelter information and other important storm help information
For more information on safety and National Grid’s response to Hurricane Sandy, visit www.nationalgridus.com, follow us on Twitter @nationalgridus, friend us on Facebook at National Grid MA or National Grid RI, visit our YouTube page, or text STORM to NGRID (64743) to sign up for free text message alerts and updates.