PSNH Contact: Mike Skelton, Communications Specialist
For Immediate Release:
Hurricane Irene Outage Update
August 29, 2011 11:30 a.m.
MANCHESTER, N.H., August 29, 2011 -- It will be at least several days before power is restored to all Public Service of New Hampshire customers that lost power on Sunday. As of 11:30 a.m., PSNH reports about 90,000 customers are without power, due to the impact of Hurricane Irene. PSNH line crews are currently working to restore power across the 159 impacted New Hampshire communities.
"We are making steady progress, however, we still have a lot of work ahead," said David Bickford, PSNH Director - Customer Operations. "Several communities experienced significant damage to their electrical system, which will require several days of work to restore power to all customers."
|Chart comparing NH storms
Magnitude of Hurricane Irene
PSNH outages peaked on Sunday night at 8 p.m. with about 125,000 PSNH customers losing power. Damage to the electrical system is widespread across Central and Southern New Hampshire and gusty winds overnight added to the total outages to be repaired. The peak outage figure of 125,000 for Hurricane Irene places the storm ahead of Hurricane Bob of 1991, which peaked at 83,000 outages. Overall, Hurricane Irene ranks as the largest non-winter weather outage event over the last 20 years (See attached chart).
"What is also significant about this hurricane is the devastation it has delivered along the eastern seaboard and into Canada," noted Bickford. Over 5 million homes and businesses have lost power along the eastern seaboard, along with 250,000 in Quebec as a result of Hurricane Irene. "The widespread geographic nature of this storm has a put a premium on line crew resources."
Focus on Restoration Efforts
Crews worked overnight and will continue throughout the day, with a focus on public safety and ensuring that roadways are cleared of downed lines and debris. As roads are cleared, damage assessments will continue, and crews will be deployed strategically to restore power to customers as quickly as possible. Restoring power to critical infrastructure likes water supply facilities, schools, and shelters are a top priority. More than 100 PSNH and contract crews are currently at work on the restoration effort. An additional 75 line crews from outside the area are expected to arrive by Monday afternoon. Understandably, 50 crews assigned to PSNH from Hydro-Quebec have been recalled, for now, to restore power to their customers.
Specific time estimates regarding restoration work is being provided for specific outages where crews are currently working. Estimates will not be available in other areas until full extent of damages and necessary repairs has been determined. The company appreciates the patience of customers in dealing with the aftermath of this serious weather event.
Customers are encouraged to follow @psnh on Twitter: http://twitter.com/psnh or PSNH on Facebook, for current information on outages and restoration efforts. Mobile/smartphone users can also view an outage list broken down by community at http://www.psnh.com/outagelist/.
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.
- 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.