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NATIONAL GRID HAS RESTORED MORE THAN 100,000 MASSACHUSETTS CUSTOMERS AFFECTED BY BLIZZARD
NATIONAL GRID HAS RESTORED MORE THAN 100,000 MASSACHUSETTS CUSTOMERS AFFECTED BY BLIZZARD

Crews Working to Repair Damaged Transmission Lines and Blanketing Local Neighborhoods; Impassable Roads and Snowdrifts Pose Challenges

Customers Urged to Stay Safe

February 10, 2013 – Despite impassable roads and massive snow drifts that hampered access to power lines and equipment, National Grid crews have made significant headway, with more than 100,000 customers restored in the Mass. communities affected by the devastating blizzard that tore through the state Friday and Saturday.

At the peak of the storm on Friday at 11 p.m., more than 170,000 Mass. customers were without power. As of noon today, that number is down to approximately 65,000 customers who are primarily on the South Shore and in the southeastern part of the state. Customers in other parts of the state who lost power have been restored.

Customers in the Attleboro area are expected to be restored today. In the Brockton area and in Quincy, customers should be fully restored by midday tomorrow. The restoration effort on the South Shore in communities such as Hanover, Norwell, Scituate and Cohasset should be complete by the end of the day Tuesday.

It is important to note that customers in all of the affected areas are being restored continuously, and these timeframes reflect when the final customers will have power.

More than 500 crews are blanketing the South Shore communities, where the blizzard’s hurricane-force winds and wind-whipped snow tore down thousands of power lines, including several high-voltage lines that serve large numbers of customers. There are more than 60 broken poles in this area alone.

Now that it is safe to fly, helicopters are out inspecting power lines in remote areas to identify damage so crews can get in and make repairs. Other crews are working substations – facilities that connect local power lines to the high-voltage electric grid, and still others are repairing lines that serve local neighborhoods.

More than 2,000 crews – including National Grid personnel and workers from 26 states and Canada – are blanketing National Grid’s service area in Mass. and Rhode Island, repairing damaged equipment and restoring light and heat to affected customers. Thousands of other employees are working behind-the-scenes on logistics, materials, fleet and fuel, lodging and meals for the crews, engineering, and a host of other support services designed to expedite the restoration.

National Grid is working hand-in-hand with state and local officials and keeping the lines of communication open so community leaders know the status of the restoration, and so the restoration work proceeds as quickly and safely as possible.

Customers Urged to Stay Safe

National Grid is urging customers to stay safe as the restoration continues.

“The storm has passed and the sun is out, but customers still need to be very careful if they are without power and as crews work in their neighborhoods,” said Kathy Lyford, National Grid vice president of New England Operations. “Customers need to take special care if using alternative sources of heat to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.”

Here are some important safety tips to for electric and natural gas customers:

  • If you use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to only operate it outdoors. Before operating generators, 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 jeopardize crew safety. Be sure to use other heat sources such as fireplaces and space heaters safely.
  • If you lost power, turn off any appliances that were on when the power went off, but leave one light on so you will know when power is restored.
  • Never to touch downed power lines, and always assume that any fallen lines are live electric wires. If you see a downed power line, keep everyone away and call us immediately at 1-800-465-1212.
  • 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.
  • Please leave damaged poles alone. Handling or cutting utility poles—or burning them in your fireplace, woodstove or furnace—potentially exposes you to the chemicals used to treat and preserve these poles.
  • Please drive carefully and use caution when driving near any repair crews working to restore power.
  • Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage.

Natural gas customers also need to take precautions:

  • Be sure to clear snow away from vents and exhaust ducts of appliances such as water heaters, ranges and clothes dryers.
  • Use caution when removing snow from roofs to ensure it does not fall on and damage the gas meter.
  • Never burn wood or coal in an indoor area without proper venting. Portable gas and charcoal grills intended for outside use should never be used indoors, or even inside an open garage.
  • Never run a car in an attached garage, even with the garage door open. Car exhaust contains co and is the leading cause of co fatalities.
  • Never use your gas range to heat your apartment, or house. Your range's oven and top burners are designed to cook your food, not to heat your home. Prolonged use can reduce oxygen levels in the home and contribute to unusually excessive levels of carbon monoxide.

Customers Urged to Keep in Touch

In addition to Outage Central, National Grid offers a number of ways for customers to report outages or learn about restoration efforts and important safety information. Here’s how:

  • Outage reporting hotline – Massachusetts and Rhode Island customers can call 1-800 465-1212 to report an outage.
  • Text messages – Customers can receive text message alerts and updates through a free service the company offers. Text the word STORM to NGRID (64743) to sign up for the service.
  • National Grid uses social media – Facebook and Twitter -- to communicate with customers about service issues and interruptions during storms.
  • E-mail alerts are also available to customers who create an online profile on the company’s website. All alert services can be started and stopped at the customer’s request.
  • Customers can use their mobile devices to track outage information and storm related safety tips through National Grid’s new mobile site that can be accessed at nationalgrid.com.

About National Grid

National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE:NGG) is an electricity and gas company that connects consumers to energy sources through its networks. The company is at the heart of one of the greatest challenges facing our society - to create new, sustainable energy solutions for the future and developing an energy system that underpins economic prosperity in the 21st century. National Grid holds a vital position at the center of the energy system and it ‘joins everything up’.

In the northeast US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles. In Great Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country.

National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. It manages the electricity network on Long Island under an agreement with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), and owns over 4,000 megawatts of contracted electricity generation, providing power to over one million LIPA customers. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in New York, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

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