Utility companies, communities prepare ahead of Christmas wind, rain storm

Connecticut

BERLIN, Conn. (WTNH) — Our state’s utility companies are preparing for the incoming Christmas storm.

Eversource and United Illuminating are both monitoring the forecast as a wind and rain storm could knock out power over Christmas.

This will be the eighth storm that Eversource responded to since Tropical Storm Isaias hit back in August, and the timing is just perfect for Christmas Eve and Christmas.

“We’re making sure our area work centers around the state are fully stocked, so our crews have whatever they need to make repairs to the electric system close by, to save time, so they can quickly restore power,” said Eversource spokesperson Tricia Modifica.

Jeffrey Sylvester, an Eversource Journeyman Lineman told News 8, “You are in the mentality that you were going to be off, and you have that all week and then you find out there is a storm, and then you’re required to come in, it’s just part of the job.”

They are preparing for winds greater than 60 miles per hour that could cause scattered outages. The company is also bringing in out-of-state contractors to help.

Modifica said the contractors would “help with any restoration. And we’ve added customer care representatives so they can handle calls from our customers and help them throughout the storm.”

2020 has had its fair share of storms, and Eversource is watching the forecast closely.

Just keep in mind, as the winds pick up and they start to get into that 30-35 mile an hour range, linemen can’t safely put a bucket up, so they’re asking for your patience because they can’t even start working until the wind dies down.

Sylvester added, “Yeah, it gets a little scary with a tree swinging around you, you don’t want anything falling and taking the bucket down with them.”

Modifica can’t remember one in recent years this perfectly timed for Christmas.

We’re also very mindful that this is the Christmas holiday and also not an ideal time to lose power.

“That’s why we’re making sure we have everything in position and as many possible resources on hand as they can,” Modifica said.

They’re also adding more customer care representatives to their call centers just in case.

Eversource customers can report an outage and get restoration updates by text:

  • Text “OUT” to 23129 to report an outage.
  • Text “STAT” to 23129 to receive a status update.

United Illuminating customers can report an outage online. UI customers can also sign up for outrage alerts before the storm by texting ‘REG’ to 839884.

UI says they have their storm team crews on standby to restore power outages and repair downed wires.

Eversource and UI crews are not the only ones working Christmas Day.

Customers are advised to have a plan in the event of an extended loss of service.

It’s important you do what you can to prepare:

  • Charge your cell phones.
  • Pull out your flashlights.
  • Have a storm kit ready filled with water, non-perishable food items, and essential items like medications or pet food.

It’s been a busy day at Goody’s Hardware in East Haven.

Owner David Kats says people have by in to buy not only Christmas gifts, but “generators, batteries, lanterns, gas cans, rope” to prepare for the storm.

The City of Hartford also will have boots on the ground throughout the city.

Hartford Dept. of Public Works Director Michael Looney said, “We will have three crews going around the city, also have a fourth street crew on call and a couple of crews from outside contractors to help in the instances where we might have downed trees.”

Officials suggest residents take steps for storm safety on their own property:

  • To avoid flooding in your yard and basements, to make sure storm drains near your property are clear of snow and debris.
  • Deflate any inflatable decorations outside when high winds are expected.
  • Take down any hanging ornaments that are not nailed down from outdoor locations when heavy wind and rain is expected.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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