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Recovery from severe winds continues across upstate, National Grid urges safety around electric equipment

by jmaloni

Submitted

Fri, Nov 1st 2013 09:45 pm

Most services to be restored by late tonight, small number of isolated outages by tomorrow

With extremely strong winds buffeting efforts throughout the day, National Grid field crews continue the difficult task of restoring electric service to thousands of customers affected by the storm that rolled in Western New York last night and this morning, and is now making its way across the state. Company and contract crews have restored service to thousands, but continuing winds have created additional outages and complicated working conditions through the late morning and early afternoon.

More than 18,000 customers across its upstate regions were affected by this storm at various times, with approximately 12,000 remaining to be restored as of 4 p.m. The company began restoring services in the early morning hours, but new outages continued into the day as winds as strong as 60 miles per hour brought branches, limbs and entire trees into overhead electric circuits. In some areas, limbs and trees came down with such force that utility poles were snapped in two.

The hardest hit areas remain in Western New York, particularly northern Erie County, portions of Niagara County and regions just to the east. Also, significant interruptions have been experienced in the St. Lawrence River valley areas in northern New York. The company expects to have the vast majority of interruptions restored by late this evening, but anticipates that a small number of isolated outages may not have service until tomorrow, particularly in those harder hit areas in the western and extreme northern portions of the state.

The company cautioned that continuing strong winds could bring additional outages this evening, and urged customers to call the company to report any service interruption.

 "Our crews are working as fast as the weather and safety protocols will allow, and they have made great progress in some very difficult conditions. We're pleased that the majority of our customers will have service restored by later tonight," said Ken Daly, president of National Grid - New York. "We appreciate our customers' understanding and patience, and ask that everyone remain safe until the weather has cleared and final repairs can be made."

The company has deployed more than 360 electrical crews, along with nearly 180 forestry crews, across its service areas in upstate New York to respond to wind damage. National Grid's first priority is the safety and well-being of its customers and employees, and urges extreme caution during and after any weather event.

Tips for Wind Safety and Wires Down

•Strong winds can cause local electrical service interruptions. 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.

•Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage period.

•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 the company's customer service contact center at 1-800-642-4272.

People should consider any downed wire they see to be live and dangerous. If you see any fallen lines, broken poles or trees touching wires, stay clear of the surrounding area and contact National Grid immediately.

Customers with generators should be sure to install them outside to avoid deadly carbon monoxide. Open windows are inadequate for safely ventilating a generator. To ensure safety, operate generators only outdoors. Before installing generators, be sure to disconnect from National Grid's system by shutting off the main breaker located in the electric service panel.

•Finally, note National Grid's emergency outage reporting number, 1-800-867-5222, and keep it handy. Reporting outages as soon as possible helps expedite restoration. The company also encourages customers to keep in touch throughout the storm by texting the word STORM to NGRID (64743), and following National Grid on Twitter, Facebook and its new U.S. Connecting website.

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