POTSDAM - National Grid is reporting power could be restored to most of its customers in the towns of Colton and Parishville by 2 p.m. today, but the estimated restoration time for customers in the southern end of the county means utility crews could be sighting Santa Claus as they finish their work.
National Grid says 6,169 of its 43,032 customers remain without power this morning. Many customers in the southern end of the county lost their power Saturday evening, while power losses in the central portion of the county were more prevalent starting early Sunday morning.
Volunteer first responders are continuing to respond to calls this morning, with Pierrepont paged out to a trees down on roadway call on County Route 24, near Route 56, at the 5 a.m. hour and Colton called out just before 6 a.m. to a report of trees on power lines on fire near Cottage Road.
The utility is reporting 734 of its 1,660 customers in Colton remain without power as well as 103 in the town of Parishville, 315 in the town of Pierrepont and 595 in the town of Colton.
The problem grows as you head south in the county with estimated restoration time for most of those customers listed at 11:30 p.m. Christmas Eve.
The current outages by town:
National Grid says it is still assessing conditions in the town of Pitcairn, where all of its 401 customers are without power, and the town of Fowler, 764 outages.
Meanwhile, another 15,103 customers - down from a high of approximately 26,000 - remain without power in Jefferson County.
National Grid issued the following release Sunday night:
As National Grid field crews address service issues created by heavy ice and increasing winds in two distinct regions of its upstate New York service area, the company is cautioning its customers to be extremely careful around downed wires, limbs, trees and broken poles.
Significant overnight ice build-up in the St. Lawrence and Black River areas in northern parts of the state, and between the New York State Thruway and Lake Ontario in Western New York, has resulted in extensive tree and equipment damage across both areas.
Estimates are that more than 70,000 customers had service interrupted at various points beginning late Saturday night and into Sundaymorning.
Despite ongoing weather challenges hampering working conditions in many areas, crews immediately deployed to begin restoration efforts even as new interruptions were being reported. As of 2:30 p.m. Sunday, the company is reporting that service has been restored to more than 17,000 customers.
Service restoration estimates for the remaining customers are being developed, but the company is expecting that some, especially those in the hardest hit and most remote areas, will be out of service into the beginning days of the week.
A force of more than 2,000 electric line, forestry, survey and other field workers has been deployed throughout both areas to clear hazards and restore services, many of whom were pre-positioned in advance of the weather based on forecasts. The company is calling in additional National Grid and mutual aid crews, particularly to Western New York where ice accumulation and resulting damage was far greater than weather forecasts had predicted.
The companys Central and Western New York work force is being aided by other National Grid crews from Eastern New York, Long Island and New England, along with contractors and other mutual aid crews. Field forces are supported by hundreds of additional logistics personnel in offices through the regions.
We were well prepared and have a very large and highly skilled workforce on the ground in the hardest hit regions. We are making excellent progress, to be sure, but the level of damage is quite severe and extremely widespread, said Kenneth Daly, president, National Grid New York. We are completing damage assessments and have developed plans that will allow us to systematically and safely address these issues. We are focused on restoring power to every impacted customer, and we are pressing as quickly as can to make that happen.
With so much damage, the company is offering extra caution about safety around down wires and anything that may be touching wires. In extremely wet conditions, almost anything can be a conductor of electricity so the company is urging the public to stay clear of any downed wire and to contact National Grid to address the issue and make it safe before attempting to clear away tree debris.
When a power outage occurs in your neighborhood, it may in fact be affecting thousands of customers. How do we get customers back on line?
National Grid emergency crews follow a time-tested plan to begin restoring service as safely and quickly as conditions allow. Accurate damage surveys, resource assessments and restoration estimates are critical in the preliminary stages of any major weather event. National Grid crews perform damage surveys as soon as possible during and after the weather-related incidents following established safety guidelines. Credible and consistent communication with local public officials and the media is maintained throughout the duration of the restoration effort by in-person updates between National Grid personnel and state and local officials, regular media updates, and updates to Outage Central.
As damage assessments are underway, our crews clear away hazards such as live, downed lines. The clean-up of storm-damaged trees and branches removed from our electric facilities remains the responsibility of the customer or property owner, whether private or municipal.
Next come repairs to main transmission facilities, including towers, poles and high-tension wires that deliver power from generating plants.Recovery work at local substations is also a high priority, because power flows from transmission lines through substations on its way to you.
Circuits and transformers in neighborhoods and the wires that connect them to your home come nextstarting with areas that involve the most customers. While waiting for your power to return, please know that were doing everything we can to restore electric service as quickly as possible.
National Grid advises customers to be prepared for service interruptions. Its a good idea to have a number of working flashlights, at least one battery-operated radio and an extra supply of batteries in your home. A radio is a good way to stay in touch, as National Grid provides news media with timely information regarding restoration efforts.
Also, post National Grids emergency outage reporting number 1-800-867-5222 near your telephone so it will be handy if needed.
National Grid offers the following tips for customers to minimize inconvenience and maximize safety in the event that storm-related power interruptions do occur.
■ 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.
■ If you use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to only operate it outdoors. Before operating generators, be sure to disconnect from NationalGrids system by shutting off the main breaker located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could jeopardize crew safety.
■ 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.
■ Power problems can sometimes interrupt public water supply systems or disable well pumps, so its 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 companys Customer Service Center at 1-800-642-4272.
■ National Grid customers who experience outages should call National Grids outage line at 1-800-867-5222 immediately to expedite restoration.
■ Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage period.
National Grid provides a number of channels for customers to learn about service issues and interruptions during storms. Customers can receive text message alerts and updates through a free service the company offers. The company provides real time outage information at its Outage Central web site at https://www1.nationalgridus.com/OutageCentral. There is also an app available for mobile devices.
Text the word STORM to NGRID (64743) to sign up for the service. E-mail alerts are also available to customers who create an online profile on the companys website. All alert services can be started and stopped at the customers request. National Grid also provides storm and restoration updates through Facebook and Twitter.