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National Grid crews continue to focus on public safety, power restoration following Sunday's storm

Submitted and updated

Mon, Nov 16th 2020 12:25 pm

UPDATE: At 5:07 p.m., National Grid provided this update: National Grid’s Western New York field force has restored power to 90% of the nearly 53,000 customers impacted by the severe storm that caused widespread damage in the region on Sunday. Crews are continuing to repair extensive damage to equipment and facilities after high winds brought down trees, tree limbs, wires, poles and other hazards. Areas hardest hit include Erie, Niagara, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties.
The majority of customers who remain without service are expected to have their power
restored by 11:30 p.m., with isolated and scattered pockets and single customer outages in the hardest-hit areas restored into Tuesday. The most accurate way for customers to check on the power restoration estimate for their specific address is to log into the “Report or Check Outage” page on National Grid’s Outage Central site.
“While we have made steady progress, our work will continue until all affected customers
have had their service restored,” said Matt Barnett, vice president of New York electric operations."

••••••••

Per National Grid:

More than 1,400 National Grid line, tree and service workers in Western New York are focused on public safety and are making steady progress in removing downed wires, trees, tree limbs, broken poles and other hazards, and restoring power after a severe wind storm swept across the region Sunday. Crews will continue to work around the clock on the labor-intensive cleanup and restoration efforts.

As of 11 a.m., fewer than 9,000 customers remain without service, primarily in the hardest-hit areas, including portions of Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. The storm, with wind gusts of more than 65 mph, impacted 51,000 customers. Crews will continue their work in high winds and challenging conditions throughout the day to restore service to customers as quickly and safely as possible.

National Grid is distributing bottled water and dry ice to impacted customers today at the following locations:

  • JFK Recreation Center, 114 Hickory St., Buffalo; noon to 6 p.m.
  • Dunkirk Training Grounds, 665 Brigham Road; 1-6 p.m.

The company had initially planned a distribution location in Batavia. But since the number of impacted customers in that area is lower than anticipated, it was decided to concentrate the dry ice and bottled water distribution efforts in the two other areas, to help customers who need it the most.

“Storm damage across Western New York includes uprooted trees, broken poles and downed power lines,” said Matt Barnett, National Grid’s vice president of New York electric operations. “In addition to performing critical public safety activities, our crews are assessing damage to our system and equipment so that we can refine our restoration estimates and restore power as quickly and safely as possible.”

National Grid continues to work closely with local officials to coordinate restoration efforts. Customers are reminded to remain aware of potential safety hazards such as damaged trees, particularly broken limbs that haven’t yet fallen to the ground. As always, all downed wires should be considered live and dangerous. All downed wires should immediately be reported to National Grid at 1-800-867-5222 or by calling 911.

Estimated Restoration Times

In the early stages of a storm, restoration times on National Grid’s “Outage Central” site may be listed as “assessing conditions.” This is because debris such as trees, tree limbs and downed wires must be cleared away so that damage to equipment can be assessed and restoration plans can be executed.

It's normal for outage numbers and estimated restoration times to fluctuate as crews de- energize lines to make conditions safe for repairs. Additionally, there could be new outages that occur if strong, damaging winds continue.

Outage Central Reminder

The “Outage Central” page shows the estimated time of restoration for communities and reflects the estimated time for the last customer in that community to have power restored. The most accurate way for customers to check on the power restoration estimate for their specific address is to log into the “Report or Check Outage” page.

Restoration Process

The company’s first priority is to ensure the safety of customers and crews by clearing away dangers such as live, downed power lines. Next come repairs to main transmission facilities, including towers, poles and high-tension wires that deliver power to thousands of customers. Recovery work at local substations also is a top priority, followed by repairs to neighborhood circuits, transformers and service wires.

As restoration work continues, National Grid continues to urge the public to be cautious around downed wires and debris, and offers the following safety tips:

•Electricity & Generator Safety

  • If a power outage occurs, customers can notify National Grid online to expedite restoration.
  • Never touch downed power lines; always assume they are carrying live electricity. Downed lines should be immediately reported to National Grid at 1-800-867-5222 or by calling 911.
  • Generators used to supply power during an outage must be operated outdoors to prevent the buildup of deadly carbon monoxide. Before operating a generator, 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 endanger crews and neighbors.
  • Customers who depend on electrically powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should register as a life support customer by calling National Grid at 1-800-642-4272. (In a medical emergency, always dial 911.)
  • Keep a number of working flashlights and an extra supply of batteries in a home.
  • Charge all electronic devices.
  • Please use caution when driving near emergency responders and crews restoring power.
  • Be sure to check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage.

•Stay informed and connected:

Customers can receive personalized alerts by text, email and/or phone when an outage is detected at their property by enrolling in the company’s outage alert option. To register, text REG to 64743, enter a National Grid electricity account number and select a preferred method(s) of notification. Customers also can text OUT to 64743 to report an outage.

For real-time power outage information, online outage reporting, and in-depth storm safety information, visit National Grid’s “Outage Central” website. Customers who create an online profile also can register to receive email alerts.

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