June 8, 2017
WALTHAM, MA – With June signaling the official start to hurricane season, it is time to prepare for the possibility of power outages and other service interruptions that can be caused by the severe weather generated by these storms. For National Grid, preparation for weather events and severe storms is a year-round commitment and the company urges customers to get ready for hurricane season too.
According to weather officials, the US can expect as many as 12 storms and two “named” storms during this year’s hurricane season, which lasts until the end of November.
“Given the unpredictable nature of New England weather, we constantly work to assure that our energy delivery systems hold up to the worst weather so that we can safely and reliably provide service to the customers and communities we serve,” said Michael G. McCallan, vice president of Emergency Planning and Business Resilience at National Grid. “Despite our best efforts along with robust investments in our system so that we can keep the lights on and the gas flowing, outages can still occur with hurricane-force winds and flooding.”
Throughout the year National Grid conducts numerous emergency exercises and drills that involve hundreds of employees in table-top and simulated, storm-related scenarios to gauge the company’s readiness. The company also conducts in-depth analyses of each major storm and refines its processes from lessons learned.
The company invests tens of millions of dollars each year in its electric and natural gas infrastructure to improve service and strengthen the systems against inclement weather. In addition, National Grid manages a robust tree trimming and tree removal program.
Following the devastating storms that have struck New England in the past decade, the company expanded its network of contractors who can be called on to assist National Grid crews in restoring electric service following a storm. In addition, we have improved communications with emergency preparedness agencies, state police and state and local highway and public works departments to better coordinate the restoration process.
Additionally, this will be the first hurricane season that National Grid’s first responder app will be available to local emergency responders. The company launched the smart device app last fall to allow first responders to take geographically-targeted photographs of damage to the company’s infrastructure and send an alert to the company. It is expected that this new tool will aid restoration time.
What customers can do to prepare
There are a number of steps customers can take before the storms hit. High winds, lightning and heavy rain can cause local electrical service interruptions. It is 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. Also, post National Grid’s emergency outage reporting number, 800-465-1212, near your telephone so it will be handy if needed.
Power problems can sometimes interrupt public water supply systems or disable well pumps, so keep a supply of bottled drinking water handy, as well as some canned food.
People who depend on electric-powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should let National Grid know. To register as a National Grid life support customer, call our contact center at 800-322-3223.
If you use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to operate it outdoors and remember to disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker located at your electric service panel. Failure to do so could jeopardize the safety of line crews and the public.
Flooding caused by heavy rain and high tides can also adversely impact the natural gas distribution system. National Grid asks customers to be alert for gas service interruptions caused by severe flooding.
National Grid provides multiple channels for customers to learn about service issues and interruptions during storms. Customers can follow the storm on their mobile devices by using the National Grid mobile app or texting the word STORM to NGRID (64743). The company provides real time outage information on its Outage Central web site at nationalgridus.com/OutageCentral.
About National Grid
National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE: NGG) is an electricity, natural gas, and clean energy delivery company that supplies the energy for more than 20 million people through its networks in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast. National Grid also operates systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain.
National Grid is transforming its electricity and natural gas networks to support the 21st century digital economy with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions. Read more about the innovative projects happening across our footprint in our US President’s eBook, The Democratization of Energy.