As the region prepares to hunker down for another severe cold snap, and the icicles hanging from gutters and eaves get longer and heavier, National Grid is urging its customers to be particularly cautious around wires, meters and connections that bring electricity to the home.
The buildup of snow and ice could damage the connections of electricity service to one's building, often known as the "weatherhead." As snow and ice melt or are otherwise removed, look at this connection point from a safe distance to be sure it hasn't been pulled away from the building, creating a potential fire hazard.
Customers should clear snow and ice from meters by gently using a snowbrush or broom. Never kick, hit or use sharp objects to remove snow and ice. If a meter and/or regulator is encased in solid ice, customers are asked to call National Grid's contact center at 1-800-642-4272.
National Grid is urging all home and building owners to be especially cautious as they work to clear their roofs by following these safety recommendations:
•Keep all ladders, shovels, roof rakes and other devices well clear of any lines coming from the street to the structure, regardless of material. In extremely wet conditions, even wood can be a conductor of electricity.
•If necessary, start clearing snow from the opposite end of the roof from the service point where electricity is delivered. This will allow for relief of snow loading.
•If you are unsure of how to go about clearing snow, or if your roof is particularly steep, contact a qualified roofing contractor.
•As snow is removed from the roof, be aware of what is below that could become buried as snow hits the ground. Be especially mindful of the location of your electricity and gas meters, as they could be damaged by falling snow and ice.
National Grid is responsible for repairs to the overhead lines to the weatherhead, and the meter itself. Repairs to any other portions of the service are the responsibility of the customer. If any of that service is damaged, customers should contact a certified electrician to handle the repairs.
Information about post-storm responsibilities is available on National Grid's website at: https://www1.nationalgridus.com/YourResponsibilities. To report an electricity service outage, National Grid customers should call: 1-800-867-5222. General inquiries about an account should be directed to: 1-800-642-4272.
To help customers stay informed, National Grid provides a number of channels for customers to learn about service issues and interruptions. Customers can receive text message alerts and updates through a free service the company offers. The company provides real time outage information at its "Outage Central" website at https://www1.nationalgridus.com/OutageCentral. There also is an app available for mobile devices.