PSNH Contact: Martin Murray, Sr. Corporate News Representative
For Immediate Release:
Damage Assessment and Restoration Work Ongoing
October 30, 2011 5:00 p.m.
MANCHESTER, N.H., October 30, 2011 -- Lineworkers and damage assessors are making slow but steady progress in the wake of an historic October snow storm that has resulted in significant power outages throughout the Northeast.
It could be up to a week before power is restored to all Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) customers that have lost power. As of 5:00 p.m. Sunday, about 237,000 PSNH customers were reported without power. The general location of most outages is that area south of Manchester, to the Nashua/Milford area, and stretching east to the Seacoast. With most trees still holding their foliage, the one to two feet of wet, heavy snow brought limbs and branches down onto wires and equipment.
Specific restoration times not yet available - "Due to the extensive damage to the electrical system, customers should prepare to be without power for several days," said David Bickford, PSNH Director - Customer Operations. "Almost 3 million customers across the northeast are currently without power. The widespread geographic nature of this storm has put a premium on line crew resources."
The initial focus of line crews has been to ensure roadways are clear of downed wires and debris. "Downed wires pose a major safety risk and should be reported to PSNH immediately," noted Bickford. Customers should call 1-800-662-7764 to report downed wires, poles, and other safety concerns.
As roads are cleared and damage assessed, crews are deployed strategically to restore power to customers as quickly as possible. Restoring power to critical infrastructure likes water supply facilities, schools, and shelters is a top priority. Until crews clear all downed lines and complete the damage assessment, accurate estimated times of restoration are not available.
This "Snowtober" storm rates as PSNH's third largest outage in history, following the December 2008 Ice Storm and February 2010 Wind Storm. Snowfall from the storm is the most recorded in New Hampshire during October in 140 years. "Like Hurricane Irene, this weather event has not only impacted New Hampshire, but the entire northeast," noted Bickford. Additional help is on the way as 25 Crews from Hydro Quebec arrived this morning and will join PSNH crews in the field today. An additional 30 contractor line crews from Tennessee and Ohio will join the effort on Monday.
Important Safety Reminders
Customers are urged to stay clear of fallen or sagging power lines and to treat all lines as if they are 'live.' They should also stay away from downed trees or poles, and report this situation immediately to PSNH at 1-800-662-7764.
In addition, PSNH reminds customers that it is critical for their safety and the safety of line workers who will repair the electrical system that portable generators be installed correctly. To protect line workers, a generator should only be attached to the house wiring and completely isolated from the utility supply. Without proper isolation, power that is being generated through the home could also feed into the PSNH electrical system, causing an unsafe situation for both line workers and neighbors. Please take care when installing a portable generator. For more generator safety tips, visit psnh.com.
For the most recent information on PSNH's power restoration efforts, please follow @psnh on Twitter: http://twitter.com/psnh or on facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and psnh.com.