More than half of customers impacted by ice storm restored; massive workforce addressing remaining issues
National Grid has restored electric service to more than 40,000 homes and business in Western and Northern New York, and has deployed approximately 2,300 field workers today across the two regions to address remaining issues. The company expects to have 90 percent of western region customers restored by late tonight, and 90 percent restored in the north by noon tomorrow.
Based on current, known outage reports, National Grid expects complete restoration in Niagara and Erie counties by late this evening, with the hard hit areas in Orleans and Genesee counties completed by mid-day tomorrow. Any new outages or previously unreported issues may not be included in those estimates.
More than 70,000 customers had service interrupted at the peak of outages in the early morning hours Sunday. Heavy ice followed by strong, gusty winds in both regions resulted in extensive tree damage, which in turn brought down wires and poles.
The company's Western and Central New York work force is being aided by other National Grid crews from Eastern New York, Long Island and New England, along with contractors and other mutual aid crews. Field forces are supported by hundreds of additional logistics personnel in offices through the regions.
"We have a very large and highly skilled workforce on the ground, and it's even larger today," said Kenneth Daly, president, National Grid New York. "We are doing everything we can to have services restored before Christmas, and making sure all our customers and our workers are safe."
National Grid provides a number of channels for customers to learn about service issues and interruptions during storms. The company provides real time information at its "Outage Central" website at https://www1.nationalgridus.com/OutageCentral. There is also an app available for mobile devices.
Customers can receive text message alerts and updates through a free service the company offers. Text the word STORM to NGRID (64743) to sign up for the service. Email alerts are also available to customers who create an online profile on the company's website. All alert services can be started and stopped at the customer's request. National Grid also provides storm and restoration updates through Facebook and Twitter.
Safety Remains a Priority
Even as the company nears completion of restoration, safety remains a priority regarding down wires and anything that may be touching wires. In extremely wet conditions, almost anything can be a conductor of electricity, so the company is urging the public to stay clear of any downed wire and to contact National Grid to address the issue and make it safe before attempting to clear away tree debris.
National Grid customers who experience outages should call National Grid's outage line at 1-800-867-5222 immediately to expedite restoration. The company also offers the following safety reminders:
•If you use a generator to supply power during an outage, 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 crew safety.
•If you lose power, turn off any appliances that were on when the power went off, but leave one light on so you will know when power is restored.
•Power problems can sometimes interrupt public water supply systems or disable well pumps, so it's an especially good idea to 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 life support customer, call the company's customer service center at 1-800-642-4272.
•Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage period.
For more information, visit www.nationalgridus.com.