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National Grid Restores Approximately 17,000 Massachusetts Customers Hit by Severe Storms; Damage Assessment and Restoration Continue Around the Clock

Hundreds of Crews en Route to Stricken Areas Helicopter Damage Patrols Underway

WALTHAM, Mass. – Approximately 760 crews from across National Grid’s service area are on-site or en route to the Massachusetts communities in National Grid’s service area that were affected by the devastating storms that swept through western and central Massachusetts yesterday. At the peak last night, approximately 42,000 National Grid customers were without power. As of noon today, approximately 17,000 customers have been restored. National Grid officials expect to have more information about overall estimated restoration times this afternoon once damage assessments and surveys are completed.

Crews will continue to work around the clock until all customers have power. Many roads remain impassible, some power lines are in very remote areas, and the electric system sustained very severe damage in places.

Marcy Reed, National Grid president, Massachusetts, is touring the hardest hit communities today, meeting with local officials and surveying the damage to the electricity system. “Our hearts go out to everyone affected by these devastating storms, especially the families of the four people who lost their lives yesterday.” Reed continued, “We want our customers to know that we are doing absolutely everything we can to get power back on as quickly and safely as possible so that they can begin to rebuild their homes, businesses and communities.”

Reed added that National Grid is working closely with federal, state and local emergency, public safety and other officials to coordinate restoration efforts and keep them informed of the progress of the restoration.

The hardest hit communities served by National Grid include: Brimfield, East Longmeadow, Hampden, Holland, Monson, Sturbridge, Wales and Wilbraham, with many other communities affected as well.

National Grid will work closely with state and local emergency, public safety and other officials to coordinate restoration efforts and keep them informed of the progress of the restoration.

National Grid Urges Customers to Stay Safe During Storm Restoration

National Grid offers the following tips for customers to maximize safety as crews work to assess the damage and restore power:

  • Never touch downed power lines, and always assume that any fallen lines are live electric wires. If you see one, report it immediately to National Grid or your local emergency response organization.
  • If you use a generator, 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 the safety of crews working to restore power.
  • Continue to monitor your battery-powered radio or television for emergency information.
  • Be careful when entering any structure that has been damaged.
  • Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves, and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris.
  • Be aware of hazards from exposed nails and broken glass.
  • Use battery-powered lanterns, if possible, rather than candles to light homes without electrical power. If you use candles, make sure they are in safe holders away from curtains, paper, wood, or other flammable items. Never leave a candle burning when you are out of the room.

Time-Tested Plan Restores Power Quickly

When a power outage occurs in your neighborhood, it may in fact be affecting thousands of customers. National Grid emergency crews follow a time-tested plan to begin restoring service as safely and quickly as conditions allow. Accurate damage surveys, resource assessments and restoration estimates are critical in the preliminary stages of any major weather event. Consistent communication with local public officials and the media is maintained throughout the duration of the restoration effort.

First, our 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 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.

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