United Illuminating said around 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, that it has entered storm mode in preparation for any power disruption that may occur as a result of the winter storm that has already begun to arrive in Connecticut.
UI said it is closely monitoring the storm, which forecasters predict will bring rain and snow lasting through Friday, and there is also the possibility of coastal flooding. This storm is expected to bring persistent winds, reaching 45 to 50 mph overnight Wednesday, with strong gusts continuing Thursday and Friday.
UI officials have already begun plans for how to respond if power outages occur as a result of the storm. The company opened its Emergency Operations Center at 2 p.m. Wednesday and is making preparations, including ensuring that vehicles are fueled and ready to go; stocking poles, transformers and other equipment; and arranging appropriate staffing levels for the duration of the storm.
While it can’t be predicted what the weather will bring, UI encourages customers to make the appropriate plans.
Perform a Storm Inventory
The possibility of an outage exists whenever severe weather strikes. You can prepare by taking an inventory of your home and stocking up on any supplies you might need.
• Be sure to have flashlights, candles, matches, a disposable lighter, a first-aid kit, a battery-operated radio or TV, and a battery-operated clock. Maintain a supply of extra batteries of various sizes.
• Fill containers with drinking water (one gallon per person, per day) and keep a three-day supply of canned or dried food. Check expiration dates on canned foods and make sure you have a manual can opener.
• Charge your mobile phone and devices so you can report outages or emergencies. Store key contacts in your phone’s memory, and keep a paper copy in case your batteries run out. UI’s toll-free line is 800-722-5584 (800-7-CALL-UI).
If someone in your home uses electronic life-support or medical-monitoring equipment, develop a backup plan in case of an extended outage. UI has a program to register “life-support” customers. Call us at 800-722-5584 (800-7-CALL-UI) to learn more.
Any home generator that plugs into your home’s wiring should be connected via a transfer switch by a licensed electrician. This ensures that when it’s in use, house wiring is isolated from utility lines. Improper installation can damage the generators, or create hazards for utility employees working on poles, or even the general public. If adding a natural gas fired generator, consult your gas utility to ensure there is adequate pressure. Generators should be placed outdoors and away from doors and windows to prevent exposure to carbon monoxide.
If the lights go out
• If you still have Internet access on a laptop or mobile phone, you can visit uinet.com and see outages throughout our service territory on our Outage Map and Town Outage List. You can also learn about our process for restoring power on the Restoration Priorities page.
• Keep sensitive electronic appliances such as computers, TVs and stereos. They could be damaged if a power surge occurs when electricity is restored.
• Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Some foods may last up to 24 hours if the doors are kept shut.
• Stay away from downed wires and other electrical service. Always assume they are live and dangerous.
• Never use your natural gas stove or oven as a space heater to stay warm.
• Check your carbon monoxide detector to make sure the batteries are in proper working order.
Call UI at 800-722-5584 (800-7-CALL-UI) to report outages or service emergencies using the automated reporting system, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Promptly reporting outages using this system will speed restoration efforts.
Always assume downed power lines are live and dangerous, and be mindful of natural gas odors. If you see a downed power line, need to report an electrical power outage, or smell natural gas, please call your utility toll-free with the location and any specifics.
Other important numbers are:
• The United Illuminating Company: 800-7-CALL-UI (800-722-5584)
• Southern Connecticut Gas Company: 1-800-513-8898
• Connecticut Natural Gas Corporation: at 1-866-924-5325
Other information sources are:
• Twitter: @unitedillum & uilholdings
• YouTube: youtube.com/uilholdings