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National Grid restores power to 93,600 WNY customers impacted by historic blizzard


Mon, Dec 26th 2022 11:00 pm

Crews will continue to work around the clock until every customer has service

Submitted by National Grid

National Grid has restored service to 93,600 of its 104,600 Western New York customers affected by the historic multiday blizzard that overwhelmed the region beginning Thursday evening. The company has more than 2,850 restoration experts on the ground – including line, service, tree, damage assessment and public safety workers – who are ready to repair the remaining damage as soon as roads are cleared and outages can be accessed.

National Grid officials continue coordinating with numerous state and local government agencies to identify and prioritize areas for road clearance to facilitate the restoration process.

Most of the remaining customers without service live in the City of Buffalo, where the storm hit hardest and road crews continue to unbury streets. An additional challenge to restoring electricity service in many Buffalo-area neighborhoods is that power is delivered by poles and wires in backyards. This type of restoration is labor- and time-intensive because it requires line workers to manually carry repair equipment into snow-covered backyards that can’t be accessed by utility vehicles.

“This blizzard is one of the largest and most destructive storms in upstate New York history,” said Matt Barnett, National Grid’s vice president of electric operations. “We know that being without electricity creates hardships and is frustrating, especially during the holidays. We deeply appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding. For those customers who are still without power, please know that our restoration efforts will continue until the last customer impacted by this unprecedented storm has their power restored.”

Western New York Electricity Estimated Restoration Times

The company is providing the following general estimated times of restoration for customers who remain without service due to this storm. The ETRs are dependent on the continued coordination between state and local officials to help clear roads so that damage can be accessed. National Grid will do everything within its control to complete restoration as quickly and as safely as possible.

Erie County: The company currently expects to restore 95% of customers by 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 28, and will work to restore customers sooner as conditions allow.

Niagara County: Individual customer outages will be restored as they are reported.

As a reminder, power is being consistently restored to customers in the region, and ETRs are updated on the company’s Outage Central site. Additionally, customers can check on the power restoration estimates for their specific addresses by visiting our “Report or Check an Outage” page. Customers who remain without service when their neighbors have been restored should call National Grid at 1-800-867-5222.

“We know that our customers are anxiously awaiting power to be restored,” Barnett said. “If you do see crews on your street or entering your or your neighbor’s backyard to repair damage, please give them plenty of room to work for your safety and theirs.”

Claims Process for Food and/or Medication Spoilage

Residential customers who experienced an outage lasting more than 72 consecutive hours due to this storm may be eligible for reimbursement for food and/or prescription medication spoilage. Reimbursement claims for qualifying customers must be submitted by Jan. 10, 2023, and include an itemized list and proof of loss. Click here for additional details and National Grid’s online claim form. Claims also can be submitted through the U.S. Postal Service or by calling 315-428-3370.

Additionally, small business customers who experienced an outage lasting more than 72 consecutive hours due to this storm may be eligible for reimbursement for food spoilage. Customers will be required to provide an itemized list and proof of loss for any spoiled food and must submit their claim form by Jan. 10, 2023. Click here for additional details and an online claim form. Claims also can be submitted through the U.S. Postal Service or by calling 315-428-3370.

The Restoration Process

When it is safe to do so, the company’s first priority is to ensure the safety of our customers and our crews by clearing away dangers such as live, downed power lines. Next come repairs to the facilities that serve the largest number of customers such as main transmission facilities, followed by recovery work at local substations and repairs to neighborhood circuits, transformers and service wires. Click here to learn more about the company’s restoration process.

Warming Centers and Relief Services

A list of warming centers can be found by clicking on the warming shelter icon on National Grid's Outage Central map. Additionally, in compliance with New York Public Service Commission requirements, National Grid will distribute free dry ice and bottled water from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday at Niagara Falls Fire Department Station 8, 320 Hyde Park Blvd., Niagara Falls. Customers are asked to bring a cooler or paper grocery bags to transport dry ice to their homes, and company personnel will provide information about its proper handling.

Safety Reminders

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, customers are reminded to keep safety a priority by avoiding downed wires. All wires should be considered live and should be immediately reported to National Grid at 1-800-867-5222 or by calling 911.

√ If a power outage occurs, customers can notify National Grid online to expedite restoration.

√ 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 our crews and your 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.

√ 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.

Safety Near Downed Power Lines

√ Stay away from downed power lines and wires; use caution if one is nearby, and always assume that they are carrying live electricity.

√ Never touch a person or an object that is in contact with a downed line, as electricity can pass through to you.

√ Take caution when approaching fallen trees, which could have power lines caught in them.

√ Remember that water can conduct electricity. If you see a line down in a puddle or flooded area, avoid contact with the water to prevent risk of shock.

Learn more about downed power line safety at our website.

The company also offers the following important safety reminders for customers and snow removal contractors who are clearing snow near electricity and gas equipment.

Electricity Safety

Snow and ice accumulation on roofs can place a burden on electricity service wires – also known as the weatherhead – that bring energy into the home.

These wires are live and are a potential hazard to anyone attempting to clear snow.

As snow and ice are removed, inspect the connection point from a safe distance to be sure that it hasn’t been pulled away from the house, which would create a potential fire hazard.

National Grid also reminds home and building owners to be especially cautious as they work to clear snow and ice by following these safety recommendations:

√ Stay at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines at all times.

√ Keep all ladders, shovels, roof rakes and other devices well clear of any lines coming from the street to the structure, regardless of the material the equipment is made from. In extremely wet conditions, even wood can conduct electricity.

√ Start clearing snow from the opposite end of the roof from the service point where electricity is delivered.

√ The buildup of ice and snow around or over natural gas meters, regulators and pipes can pose a serious safety risk. Ice and snow falling from a roof can damage gas meters or service connections to customers’ homes or businesses, resulting in potential gas leaks. Customers should take immediate action if a natural gas leak is suspected:

Get out – All occupants should leave the house immediately. Do not use the telephone, light switches or automatic garage door openers for any reason.

Call us – After leaving the house and reaching a safe environment, call National Grid’s 24-hour gas emergency number: 1-800-892-2345.

Stay out – Don’t return to your home until National Grid tells you it is safe to do so.

√ Cleared snow should never be piled around vents. A blocked vent can lead to the buildup of deadly carbon monoxide.

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of the flu, and can include headaches, weakness, confusion, chest tightness, skin redness, dizziness, nausea, sleepiness, heart fluttering or loss of muscle control. If you suspect carbon monoxide is present in your home, immediately go outside and breathe deeply. Then call 9-1-1.

√ When clearing snow, customers and snow-removal contractors should be aware of the location of natural gas equipment to avoid coming into contact with meters, hitting outside gas risers, or piling snow around vents mounted on the outside of buildings, which can cause the dilemma illustrated below:

Stay Informed and Connected

√ Customers with active electricity accounts who text REG to 64743 can have personalized alerts sent to them via text, email or phone call when we detect an outage on their property.

√ 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 sign up for email alerts.

√ Customers can read the latest company news, check outage status and report an outage by using the National Grid app.

√ Visit our website: www.nationalgridus.com, follow us on Twitter and friend us on Facebook.

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