The Latest on Storm Recovery and Power Restoration Efforts in MA; 500,000 Still Without Power, 1,300 in Shelters

Posted by erik devaney

Courtesy of Associated Press

Governor Deval Patrick met with representatives from the state’s four investor-owned utility companies Monday morning at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) headquarters in Framingham. During the meeting, Governor Patrick and his emergency management team received a full briefing on the status of power outages and restoration efforts in the wake of the October 29 snowstorm, which caused major damage in several areas of the state, particularly in western and central Massachusetts.

Governor Patrick declared a state of emergency in response to the effects of the storm, which, as of 9 a.m. today, has left 519,450 customers without power statewide: 334,646 National Grid customers; 120,399 Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECO) customers; 46,000 NSTAR customers and 18,405 Unitil customers.

“There are some 500,000 customers without power at this point, down from about 700,000 at the peak yesterday,” Governor Patrick said at a press conference following the Monday morning meeting. “We are asking everyone to be patient. The crews are making progress… a 23-percent reduction overnight. It’s pretty great but we have a whole lot more to do… before power will be restored to everyone.”

Utility company officials this morning reported that it could be several days before power is restored in some areas. Officials noted that, unlike Tropical Storm Irene, which took down many large transmission lines, this pre-Halloween snowstorm damaged many more small distribution lines, requiring a more labor-intensive — and likely longer — restoration effort.

As Governor Patrick commented, the restoration effort will entail a “house by house, block by block kind of response.” Response crews are “prioritizing town and commercial centers and schools as well as public health facilities.”

The governor is urging residents who are suffering from a lack of heat to seek out local shelter services. “There are 1,300 people in shelters right now,” said Governor Patrick. “…if you need shelter because you don’t have heat, or for any other reason, you can call the statewide 211 number.”

Governor Patrick has also issued several cautions for the public.

“First of all, treat a down wire as if it is a live wire… if those tree limbs are wound up in a power line, please, please, don’t undertake that clearing yourself. Call your utility.”

The governor is also urging people to avoid using gas ovens to heat their homes and – for those using generators – to make sure that those generators are properly ventilated.

For tonight, Governor Patrick is asking all residents to exercise caution while driving, as roads will likely be icy. In addition, he is asking drivers to stay off the roads in areas where there are downed power lines and branches that still need to be dealt with.

The utility companies reported this morning that 1,470 crews are working to clear lines and make repairs to power infrastructure across the state, with additional crews expected in the next 24-48 hours. Crews from Missouri, Mississippi, Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Alabama and Michigan have been deployed in Massachusetts to assist.

Related posts:

  1. About 70,000 Without Power in Conn. Ahead of Irene
  2. Power Outages Rise as Irene Approaches Bay State
  3. Storm Socks New Hampshire, Knocks out Power to 285,000
  4. Storm Socks New Hampshire, Knocks Out Power to 315,000
  5. Connecticut Light & Power Exec in Eye of Post-Irene Storm Over Outages

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Posted by erik devaney on Oct 31 2011. Filed under Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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