Long Island, NY - June 9, 2016 - The official start of hurricane season on June 1 should serve as a reminder to everyone that it’s time to prepare for the possibility of power outages caused by the high winds and torrential rains generated by these storms. There have already been three named storms this season and Tropical Storm Colin is moving offshore after dumping huge amounts of rain in Florida and the Carolinas. For National Grid the preparation for storms like Colin and others is a year-round responsibility that we take very seriously.
“We work constantly to make certain that our transmission and distribution systems will stand up to the worst weather,” said Michael G. McCallan, Direct of Emergency Planning at National Grid “But despite those efforts outages are bound to occur when we’re hit with hurricane force winds and flooding. When that happens, we know customers depend on us to get their electric service restored as quickly and safely as possible. That’s why we continue to refine our storm preparation and restoration procedures.”
Throughout the year National Grid conducts emergency exercises and drills that involve hundreds of employees in table-top, storm related scenarios to gauge the company’s readiness. The company conducts in-depth analyses of each major storm and refines its processes from lessons learned. Last year National Grid completed the installation of weather stations in 30 communities in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The stations not only provide real time weather information for the communities in which they’re located, they also feed information into a storm probability software program developed with MIT to improve preparedness and speed restoration.
The company also invests tens of millions of dollars each year in its electric and natural gas infrastructure to improve service and strengthen the systems against inclement weather. In addition, National Grid manages a robust tree trimming and tree removal program.
Following the devastating storms that have struck New England in the past few years, the company expanded its network of contractors who can be called on to assist National Grid crews in restoring electric service following a storm. In addition, we have improved communications with emergency preparedness agencies, state police and state and local highway and public works departments to better coordinate the restoration process.
What customers can do to prepare
There are a number of steps customers can take before the storms hit. The best rule is to be prepared. High winds, lightning and heavy rain can cause local electrical service interruptions. It’s a good idea to have a number of working flashlights, at least one battery-operated radio and an extra supply of batteries in your home. A radio is a good way to stay in touch, as National Grid provides news media with timely information regarding service restoration efforts. Also, post National Grid’s emergency outage reporting number, 800-465-1212, near your telephone so it will be handy if needed.
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 National Grid life support customer, call the company’s Customer Service Contact Center at 800-322-3223.
If you use a generator or plan to install one to supply power during an outage, be sure to operate it outdoors and remember before operating the generator to disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker located at your electric service panel. Failure to do this could jeopardize the safety of line crews and the public.
Flooding caused by heavy rain and high tides can also adversely impact the natural gas distribution system. National Grid asks customers to be alert for gas service interruptions caused by severe flooding.
- If you smell natural gas, contact us as soon as possible Massachusetts - 1-800-233-5325 Rhode Island - 1-800-640-1595
- Stay out of flooded basements or standing water
Energized wiring and natural gas service below the water line may pose a hazard
National Grid provides multiple channels for customers to learn about service issues and interruptions during storms. Customers can follow the storm on their mobile devices by using the National Grid mobile app or texting the word STORM to NGRID (64743). The company provides real time outage information on its Outage Central web site. National Grid also provides storm and restoration updates through Facebook and Twitter.
- If flooding causes a loss of service and floodwaters have receded, contact National Grid and we will dispatch a service technician to your location as soon as possible
- For more storm information, go to here.
About National Grid
National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE: NGG) is an electricity and natural gas delivery company that connects nearly 7 million customers to vital energy sources through its networks in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast. National Grid also operates the systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain.
Through its U.S. Connect21 strategy, National Grid is transforming its electricity and natural gas networks to support the 21st century digital economy with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions. Connect21 is vital to our communities' long-term economic and environmental health and aligns with regulatory initiatives in New York (REV: Reforming the Energy Vision) and Massachusetts (Grid Modernization).