23 Aug 2014
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National Grid Prepares for Severe Winter Storm

Company Urges ‘Safety First’ in the Event of Damaging Winds; Heavy Wet Snow; Crews and Equipment Prepped in Advance of Blizzard Strength Front

National Grid Prepares for Severe Winter Storm

The following information has been issued by National Grid.

With a severe winter storm on the way that weather forecasters already are calling a storm of historic proportions, National Grid has started preparing for widespread, prolonged power outages that could result from the predicted blizzard. Although the path of the storm still is being monitored, crew assignments are being developed and equipment readied in anticipation of harsh weather. 

“We continue to monitor the weather and are taking action now to be able to respond quickly and safely to potential outages that could occur. Our pre-planning activities are in anticipation of a very damaging storm,” said Kathy Lyford, vice president, New England Operations. “We take the safety of the public and our employees very seriously. We are reaching out to our life support and critical care customers and have plans in place to provide regular updates for customers.” 

Several steps have already been taken to prepare for the possibility of service interruptions. These include the following: 

- Implementing our storm command system to coordinate preparation and restoration efforts throughout the event; 

- Contacting our contractors with whom we regularly work for storm support; 

- Planning to bring in additional resources and crews as needed; 

- Continuous monitoring of the storm, setting up staging areas and positioning our resources to best respond to storm outages; 

- Reaching out to state, regional and local officials to inform them of our plans and open the lines of communication; 

- Providing routine public updates. 

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  nationalgrid.com

Staying Safe 

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. 

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