Today's conference call with National Grid personnel started with a reminder about the hazards associated with generators and staying away from downed wires and tree branches entangled with the wires. I will get back to that before ending this note.
National Grid expects that many more customers will get power restored today and the scattered smaller issues should be addressed by 11 PM tomorrow.
Statewide over 30,000 customers still have no power at 1 pm today. 300 line crews and 100 tree crews are still active. Three nursing homes and 30 schools are still off line so there still are high priority sites that need attention before they get to the sites with smaller customer numbers.
In North Smithfield specifically, I believe we have all larger outages powered again including our fire stations. We expect to get the last of our school properties on line in an hour or two. Though I was surprised to learn that we still had a street blocked late last night, that street is now clear again and power is back up.
Unfortunately, all that good news doesn't help those who still must wait for a crew to arrive. That brings me back to concern for generators and contact with wires. National Grid and everyone here in the NS team asks for your continuing patience. If you are using a generator, beware the possibility for fumes to enter your home and of course make sure your homes main service breaker is off to disconnect your home from the grid. And please, please, please don't try to clear trees from wires yourself. I learned of some NS neighbors collaborating to use a ladder to try to clear a branch from wires so a cable service could repair their service drop. That is extremely dangerous. Please wait for the people who know what they are doing.
National Grid told us today that this storm has caused the fifth highest number of customer outages in their experience. It is a struggle to be without power. If they can get everyone back on line by 11 PM tomorrow without injury in the effort we can all breath a sigh of relief. This was no small task.
Finally, we still encourage anyone who is without power who needs a warming or charging station to go to either of our fire stations.