In a conference call with National Grid personnel this afternoon, we were advised that there are still over 100,000 customers around the state that are without power with over 200 line crews working to restore each of those customers. Some will come back in large groups while others will be small groups or individual sites, so today’s forecast is that some may not see power restored until sometime late tomorrow and even Monday.
As for North Smithfield specifically, we had up to 2000 customers without power late yesterday, but most were quickly brought back online. Late yesterday afternoon I personally watched a lineman in a bucket at the top of a 50 foot pole working in gusty wind and horizontal heavy rain doing what he had to do to get near 1500 customers back up. At this time, we have about 400 customers without power which is good news and bad news. Good because our portion of the 100,000 statewide customers without power is small but bad news because the restoration efforts obviously must be focused on critical facilities and large feeder lines. Even Butler Hospital was still down earlier today and obviously must be a primary concern.
We do have NGrid crews working on the problems in the northern area of town at the Burrillville line where estimates our power should be restored by 8 pm today. Thereafter, I am hoping for confirmation that the next concentration will be the outage area near and including the Primrose Fire Station (running on a generator) and school buildings. NGrid has indicated that they will be doing all they can to be able to make schools the priority of work tomorrow to make Monday as normal as possible.
I am happy to say that NGrid, tree companies like Stanley and others, as well as our DPW and some of our citizens have worked together to have all our roads open at this time. The traffic from the 146 closure is another topic of course. I have asked for police details to help move traffic at each of the traffic lights on the detour routes to minimize delays.
We continue to encourage anyone who is without power who needs a warming or charging station to go to either of our fire stations.