UI makes progress with restoration after winter storm
Working overnight, restoration teams had returned service to 20,992 customers as of 9 a.m. That’s approximately 62% of the 33,739 customers who lost power during the storm. Thursday morning, UI had 298 restoration personnel working to restore the more than 12,700 customers remaining without service, and the company expects additional crews and resource to join the effort in the days ahead.
Company officials said crews are responding to wires down and damage reports in hundreds of locations throughout UI’s territory, and the company is working methodically to make roads safe, assess the damage and make repairs. They added that some customers may be without service for two days or more. More detailed assessments are currently underway, and the company is working on providing more specific restoration times to customers.
“This storm packed a powerful punch, with heavy snow and brisk gusts that brought down trees and limbs, which were already in a weakened condition from last week’s nor’easter,” said Tony Marone, UI’s chief executive officer. “We have mobilized our entire workforce to support the restoration effort and, in addition to the resources we had on hand for the storm’s arrival, we are calling in more restoration personnel to scale up our response.”
Marone added: “Given the scope of the damage, we do expect that some customers may be without service for a period of days as we proceed with the work of physically rebuilding damaged parts of our electric system. As this effort progresses, we will make every effort to regularly provide customers with timely and accurate information so they can make necessary arrangements.”
Company officials urged customers to be on the lookout for downed wires. Customers should assume downed wires are live and dangerous; they should stay far away and avoid touching anything that may be in contact with them. Report them to UI by calling 800-722-5584, or call 911 if there is imminent danger.
UI follows an orderly process when restoring service that emphasizes public safety and seeks to make effective use of resources. Its priorities are as follows:
- After a storm, UI’s immediate concern is public safety. Restoration teams work with towns and the state to de-energize downed lines, clear roads and restore critical facilities such as hospitals and shelters.
- Next, UI focuses on assessing the damage and repairing the backbone of the electrical distribution and transmission system: primary lines and circuits. Crews are deployed to locations where they can make the most impact by restoring large numbers of customers at once.
- Then, crews restore equipment and lines that serve smaller groups of customers.
- Finally, crews focus on restoring remaining service lines to individual homes and buildings until every customer has service. This phase may start while higher-priority work is already underway.
- Customers may report an outage using UI’s 24/7 automated phone system: Call 800-722-5584. To report an outage via mobile, text “OUT” to 839-884 (TEXT-UI), or visit Outage Central at uinet.com.
- Customers can sign up for Outage Alerts to receive notification if they lose service, and get restoration updates. To receive them via mobile device, text “REG” to 839-884 (TEXT-UI), or visit Outage Central on uinet.com for more alert options.
- Report downed wires and other emergencies to UI at 800-722-5584.
- Report gas odors to your gas company. Call SCG at 800-513-8898 and CNG at 866-924-5325.
If you lose service:
- Keep sensitive electronic appliances such as computers, TVs and stereos plugged into a surge protector, or unplug them. They could be damaged if a power surge occurs when electricity is restored.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. For information about food safety, visit http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/refridg_food.html
- Never use your stove or oven as a space heater to stay warm. Only use space heaters intended for indoor use inside or in enclosed spaces, following the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are unable to keep your home heated safely and comfortably, call Infoline at 211 for resources that can help you and your family.
- Any generator that plugs into a home’s wiring should be connected via a transfer switch by a licensed electrician. This ensures that when the generator is in use, house wiring is isolated from utility lines. Improper installation can damage the generator, or create hazards for utility employees working on poles, or even the general public. UI leases and installs an affordable automatic transfer switch that safely connects your portable generator to your electric meter to allow you to run your home’s equipment directly from your circuit breaker panel. Call 877-447-8743 or visit www.uinet.com/shieldandconnect for information.
- If adding a natural gas-fired generator, consult your gas utility to ensure there is adequate pressure. Generators should be placed outdoors and away from doors and windows to prevent exposure to carbon monoxide.
- UI can only reconnect service if the electrical system on the property is undamaged and capable of accepting service. Any damage on the property owner’s side must first be repaired by a licensed electrician. To learn more, visit Outage Central at uinet.com and select “What’s Ours and What’s Yours.”
For additional information and updates, visit Outage Central at uinet.com and follow @UnitedIllum on Twitter.