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National Grid: 98% of WNY customers have service restored after historic blizzard

Press Release

Tue, Dec 27th 2022 11:25 pm

UPDATE: On Wednesday morning, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted, “840 outages remain for National Grid and 0 reported for NYSEG.”


By National Grid

National Grid has restored service to 98% (or 105,700) of the 107,700 Western New York customers affected by the historic multiday blizzard that brought hurricane-force winds and more than 50 inches of heavy, wet snow to the region. The company’s field force of nearly 3,000 line, service, tree, damage assessment and public safety workers will remain on the ground and continue to partner with state and local agencies to gain access to the remaining damage so that repairs can be completed.   

“This is one of the worst storms to ever impact the region, and it has caused significant damage to the electricity system, including downed wires, damaged transformers and broken poles, along with multiple frozen substations in the City of Buffalo,” said Matt Barnett, National Grid’s vice president of electric operations. “We appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding as roads continue to be cleared and our crews gain access to damaged equipment in need of repair. For those customers who are still without power, please know that our restoration efforts will continue until the last customer impacted by this brutal storm has their power restored.”

Most customers without service this evening live in the City of Buffalo, where the storm hit hardest, and road crews continue snow cleanup and removal. Because electricity for many of these customers is delivered from poles and wires in their backyards, restoration is labor- and time-intensive. It requires line workers to manually carry repair equipment into snow-covered rear lots that can’t be accessed by utility vehicles.

Restoration for remaining customers without service in the hardest hit areas of Erie and Niagara counties is estimated to be complete by 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 28. National Grid will do everything within its control to complete restoration as quickly and as safely as possible. 

Customers who remain without service when their neighbors have been restored should call National Grid at 1-800-867-5222.

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.

A list of warming centers can be found by clicking on the warming shelter icon on National Grid's Outage Central map.

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. They 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.

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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