Updates from Eversource, Unitil: Restoration continues, with about 24,000 still without power

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Eversource crew
Eversource crew arriving to damage on Pine Hill Drive in Wilton. Photo/Eversource

Eversource update as of 6 p.m. Wednesday

With additional crews from Massachusetts and Connecticut arriving throughout the day as storm response nears completion in those states, thousands of Eversource field resources are working around-the-clock as part of a massive restoration effort in New Hampshire to assess, clear and repair the devastating damage caused by this week’s Nor’easter. As strong winds persisted on Wednesday morning, trees and tree limbs sagging from heavy, wet snow have continued to come down and cause additional damage to the electric system, and travel conditions remain particularly difficult for crews, with more than 210 blocked roads reported from the storm statewide.

Since the storm began on Monday night, Eversource remote system operators and lineworkers have restored more than 172,000 outages, including some customers more than once. Approximately 53,000 customers remain without power in New Hampshire as of 12:20 p.m. today, and the energy company expects to substantially complete restoration for all communities by 6 p.m. on Friday, March 17, with the majority restored sooner. Eversource continues to coordinate closely with public safety and community officials to address public safety and critical facility priorities, and community-by-community restoration times will be communicated to customers today.

“With upwards of three feet of snow that in spots is like ‘gorilla glue’ on the road and more than 210 blocked roads statewide, our crews have been dealing with extremely difficult travel conditions to access areas of the electric system where there is damage,” said Eversource New Hampshire President of Electric Operations Doug Foley. “Strong winds bringing down snow-covered trees also continued to cause additional damage this morning, and we remain in close coordination with public safety officials and our communities to address public safety concerns and support critical facilities like schools and hospitals. With the continued arrival of additional out-of-state crews throughout the day, we have thousands of workers in the field as part of this massive restoration effort, which we expect to substantially complete by 6 p.m. on Friday with most customers restored sooner. We know how frustrating it is for our customers to be without power for any length of time, and we appreciate their patience as our crews work in these challenging conditions to address public safety priorities, clear damage and make repairs.”

The Nor’easter caused damage and outages in every region of the state, and many of the currently hardest-hit communities include those in Cheshire, Hillsborough and Merrimack counties that are served by Eversource’s area work centers in Keene, Bedford and Nashua. To support the local restoration effort in the Keene area, Eversource deployed its Mobile Command Center to Keene State College.

As the hazardous weather exits New Hampshire and customers begin their own storm cleanup, the energy company encourages customers to focus on safety and be aware that tree limbs weighed down by heavy, wet snow and other debris remain a threat to come down with continued gusty conditions. Eversource also continues to remind customers who rely on generators to operate it outdoors, as far away from the home as possible, and away from any air vents, windows and doors. For more information and safety tips after a storm, please visit Eversource.com.

Unitiil crews on the road Wednesday. Photo/Unitil via Twitter

Unitil update as of 10:30 p.m. Wednesday

Crews continued to make progress during the evening hours in all Unitil communities and will continue to work through the overnight hours to restore power to those still without power.

As of 10:30 p.m., approximately 1,900 Massachusetts customers remained without power, down from a statewide peak of 16,800 Tuesday afternoon. A majority of customers have been restored in New Hampshire, with less than 25 customers still out and crews working single service issues. Unitil expects to have power restored to a majority of Massachusetts customers by tomorrow evening.

“While the total number without power has steadily decreased throughout the evening, we still have a high number of smaller outages on the system that will take time to work through,” Unitil Media Relations Manager Alec O’Meara said. “Fresh crews will be working the overnight hours to continue making progress on the remining system issues and we will continue to move from neighborhood to neighborhood, street to street until power has been restored to all.”

Earlier today, Unitil sent its new mobile command center to the Ashby, Massachusetts area to support the company’s restoration efforts. The mobile unit is assisting with the management of field resources and operations, which involve the deployment of nearly 100 crews to that region.

With the significant accumulations of snow in many areas, customers are urged to keep natural gas meters, heating and appliance exhaust vents clear of snow and ice to prevent carbon monoxide buildup within their homes.

Unitil will be communicating throughout the event through Public Service Announcements (PSAs), our website, our customer call center and through the media.  We also encourage customers to follow along with our storm updates via Facebook, our Twitter feed (@Unitil) and we will be providing real-time outage information online at unitil.com/map.

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