UI making preparations as nor’easter approaches

United Illuminating is readying crews and equipment to respond to a nor’easter that’s expected to bring heavy snow and strong winds to the region beginning on Tuesday, March 14.

Based on current weather forecasts issued by the National Weather Service and others, UI is preparing for an event that could cause a minimum of 10,000 outages or 1-3% of UI’s customer base, as high winds potentially bring trees and limbs into contact with power lines. UI outage estimates and readiness efforts are subject to change as forecasts are updated.

UI has 219 field restoration personnel — including line and tree crews, and damage assessors — ready to report to work Tuesday. The company has already secured a number of crews that are currently on the way from Michigan to support in this effort. Should the need arise, UI can also request additional crews and equipment from the other AVANGRID energy companies in New York and Maine, as well as regional mutual assistance partners, to support its restoration efforts. UI line crews who were assisting with storm recovery in New York state last week are returning to Connecticut and will be available for duty tomorrow if they are needed.

“Storm preparedness is a year-round effort at UI. Our crews and equipment are in place, and we’ll work with our contractors, as well as state and municipal partners, in order to restore service as safely and effectively as possible to all of our customers,” said Joseph D. Thomas, UI’s vice president for Electric System operations. “We urge customers to take reasonable measures to prepare their homes and families in case of storm-related outages, and to check the uinet.com website for additional updates and information.”

Here are things customers can do to get ready and protect themselves and their families.

Before a Storm:

  • Get Outage Alerts. We’ll let you know when we’re aware of a power outage affecting your area, provide an estimated restoration time (when available) and send confirmation when service is restored. Text “REG” to 839-884 to sign up for mobile alerts. Or, register at uinet.com to choose text, phone or e-mail alerts.
  • If you rely on life-sustaining equipment that operates on electricity, call UI at 800-722-5584 (800-7-CALL-UI) before the storm to register as a life-support customer. Have a backup plan in case of an extended outage.
  • Keep handy flashlights, candles, matches, a first-aid kit, a battery-operated radio or TV, a manual can-opener and a battery-operated clock. Stock up on fresh batteries.
  • Fill containers with drinking water and keep a supply of canned or dried food, as well as any medications you need. (Don’t forget to check expiration dates.)
  • Have at least one phone that’s not dependent on electricity. Remember: Cordless phones won’t work during a power interruption.
  • Charge mobile devices so you can report outages or emergencies. Store key contacts in memory, and keep a paper copy for backup.
  • Visit the Storm Center at uinet.com to track current outages on our Outage Map and Town Outage List. You can also learn about our process for restoring power on the Restoration Priorities page, get safety information and more.
  • If you have a home generator that plugs into your home’s wiring, it must be installed by a licensed electrician. The generator must be connected to your home’s wiring through a special transfer switch to ensure that the house wires are isolated from the utility wires, so that power lines cannot be energized by your generator. Failing to do this can endanger utility crews working to restore service.
  • Never run a generator indoors, even in an open garage. Place portable generators outside and away from doors, windows and air vents to prevent exposure to the exhaust, which contains poisonous carbon monoxide gas.
  • Turn off major appliances (electric water heaters, refrigerators and freezers) and sensitive electronic equipment (TVs, VCRs, DVD players, computers, audio equipment) to prevent overloading and possible damage when power is restored. Turning off this equipment may mean unplugging it, turning off a circuit breaker or removing a fuse for the circuit that provides power to this equipment. Leave one light switch “on” to know when power has been restored.

If You Lose Service:

  • Report outages. You can report outages by texting “OUT” to 839-884. You can also report outages online at uinet.com. Or, call UI at 800-722-5584 (800-7-CALL-UI).
  • Always assume downed power lines are live and dangerous, and be mindful of natural gas odors. Report them to and call 911 if there is immediate danger.
    • UI: 800-722-5584 (800-CALL-UI)
    • Southern Connecticut Gas: 800-513-8898
    • Connecticut Natural Gas: 866-924-5325
  • Listen to a battery-powered radio for weather and power restoration updates.
  • Turn off major appliances (electric water heaters, refrigerators and freezers) and sensitive electronic equipment (TVs, DVD players, computers) to prevent possible damage when power is restored. This may mean unplugging it, turning off a circuit breaker or removing a fuse for the circuit that provides power to this equipment. Leave one light switch “on” to know when power has been restored.
  • Don’t use a natural gas or propane range to heat your home, and never use outdoor grills or stoves indoors.
  • Keep refrigerators and freezers closed. For information about food safety, visit foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/refridg_food.html

After Power Is Restored:

  • Turn on appliances and sensitive electronic equipment one at a time to avoid overloading circuits.
  • If a basement or home was flooded, have an electrician check the home and have a plumbing and heating contractor check natural gas appliances before contacting your electric and natural gas utilities to have services turned on.
  • Replenish any emergency supplies used during the storm.
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