National Grid working to reduce number of outages caused by mid-week storm

Severe Weather

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — National Grid says it has crews across Southern New England working to restore power to thousands of customers nearly two days after an intense nor’easter moved through the area.

The coastal storm arrived Wednesday night and continued into Thursday morning, dumping several inches of rain and bringing wind gusts of up to 70-80 mph.

Immediately following the storm, more than 200,000 people were without power in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.


National Grid spokesperson Ted Kresse told Eyewitness News that restoration efforts will likely continue into the weekend. He said their target is to have everyone’s power back on by 11 p.m. Saturday.

“We have a lot of crews out there working as hard as possible and as quickly as possible and we’re going to keep going until we get the last people back up,” Kresse said.

The majority of the customers still without power should have it back by Friday evening, according to Kresse, but a few outliers may have to wait longer.

“We know it’s frustrating to be without power, we don’t like any of our customers to lose power at any time,” Kresse added.

Kresse said restoration efforts Thursday were a challenge for crews because of the high winds. He said anytime the wind gusts are more than 30 mph, crews can’t work safely in the bucket trucks.

“The winds continued, and we would get some people restored then another five minutes later, another tree branch would fall and power would go out somewhere else,” Kresse said, adding that despite this, significant progress was made by Thursday evening.

Safety tips and advice from National Grid:

  • Never touch downed power lines, and always assume that any fallen lines are live electric wires. If you see one, report it immediately to National Grid or your local emergency response organization.
  • 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.
  • People who depend on electric-powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should let National Grid know. To register as a life support customer, call the company’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-322-3223.
  • Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage period.
  • If you use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to operate it outdoors. Before operating generators, disconnect from National Grid’s system by shutting off the main breaker located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could jeopardize the safety of line crews and the public.
  • If you lose 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.
  • Reminder: It’s not safe to work in an elevated bucket during periods of increased wind gusts higher than 35 mph. Lineworkers will begin restoration work only when conditions are deemed safe.

National Grid customers who need to report an outage can call 1-800-465-1212 or report it online. Eversource (previously Nstar) customers can report outages to 1-800-592-2000.

Westerly Public Schools canceled classes for a second day due to the remaining power outages across town. The Westerly Public Library was also closed for the day.

For a complete list of closings and delays, check the Pinpoint Closing Network.

The Block Island Ferry said it has resumed all service Friday and ferries were running on schedule.

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