Power Restoration Continues on Christmas Day in New Hampshire, Maine
Utility crews braved the wind and cold and restored power across northern New England on Saturday, and estimate most would be restored on Christmas Day.
The winds died down on Saturday, but temperatures remained in the teens, creating brutal work conditions as crews continued their restoration work.
As of 7:40 a.m., 17,268 Eversource, Unitil and NH Electric Co-op customers were without power statewide, according to their respective outage maps. Liberty Utilities completed its repairs on Saturday according to a message just before midnight Christmas Eve posted on its Facebook page.
Eversource expected the majority of its customers to be restored by 10 p.m. Christmas Eve. Its remaining 9,000 Eversource customers still without power Sunday morning will likely be restored by Monday at 6 p.m., according to its outage map. The utility noted some outages may have developed after the storm passed.
Unitil expected most of its customers to be restored by the end of Christmas Day.
The restoration was going slower for Central Maine Power, which still had 23,470 customers in York County without power and 64,961 statewide. National Grid reported 735 customers still without power in Essex County.
Working on Christmas Day
Among the hardest hit communities in the Seacoast region:
- Eversource: Barnestead, Durham, Epping
- NH Electric Co-op: Barnstead, Deerfield, Lee, Northwood,
- Unitil: a very small amount in East Kingston, Exeter, Hampton, Kingston and Newton
- Central Maine: Berwick, Biddeford, Lebanon, Limerick, Limington, Newfield, North Berwick, Sanford, Shapleigh and Wells
- National Grid: Haverhill
Unitil spokesman Alec O'Meara said crews would continue working round the clock into Christmas Day to get power restored to most customers by the end of Sunday.
“It’s Christmas morning, and many of our customers are still waking up to no power. We understand this has been a very difficult time for our customers, especially on Christmas and with frigid temperatures in the wake of the storm,” O’Meara said in a statement. “Our crews have worked around the clock restoring power to tens of thousands of customers who lost power during Friday’s high winds. They’ll continue to work tirelessly throughout the event until all outages are restored."
He thanked the work of crews and municipal officials during the restoration period, and customers for their patience.
O'Meara asked customers who are not restored but their neighbors are to contact the utility, as there could be an issue preventing restoration.
Repairs Can Take Time
Eversource also said it had 600 crews working 24/7 to restore power. The utility on its website said one crew in Hooksett had to deal with extensive tree damage and broken poles off Auburn Road. Crews from Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia, and Canada remain in New Hampshire assisting with repairs.
"Replacing a pole can take ~6-12 hours, and typically requires a digger truck & several lineworkers. Across NH, we've been working to replace 96 broken poles from the storm," the utility wrote on its Facebook page.
New Hampshire Electric Co-op reported 60 broken poles in its service area, and said its Raymond, Alton, and Meredith service areas were particularly hard hit. Fresh crews for Christmas Day to continue repairs.
"NHEC will be welcoming additional crews tomorrow and Monday as we work to recover from this damaging storm," the utility wrote on its Facebook page.
Restoration in Maine
Repairs were going slower for Central Maine Power, whose president said power had been restored to 65% of the 300,000 customers who lost power. President and CEO Joe Purington expected most CMP customers to be restored by the end of the day Tuesday.
"We have had 550 line crews and 230 tree crews working today, and we will add another 150 line crews (Sunday). We made significant progress on restoration Saturday and expect to do the same tomorrow. We will continue to work 24 hours a day to restore our remaining customers, and expect the vast majority of customers to be restored by the end of the day Tuesday," Purington said in a statement.
The back wall of a vacant house on 73rd Street on Plum Island was washed away by Friday's storm, and its second floor supported only at one end, according to acting Newburyport Fire Chief Stephen H. Bradbury III.
Bradbury said erosion has been a longtime problem around the house, and was already cordoned off. The owners will have the house torn down in 2023, according to Bradbury.
NH State Police Trooper Rear-ended
A parked New Hampshire State Police vehicle whose trooper was responding to a crash on the Interstate 93 northbound on-ramp at Exit 1 in Salem was damaged Saturday morning when it was rear-ended. An initial investigation determined driver Kylie Garcia, 21, of Methuen was going too fast for conditions, according to State Police.
The trooper, who was inside the vehicle at the time of the impact, was transported to the Parkland Medical Center for minor injuries. Garcia and a passenger were not injured.
Clean Up Safely
The New Hampshire Department of Safety’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management offered some advice about cleaning up and handling food that was in a refrigerator without power.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed when you lose power. An unopened refrigerator will keep cold for 4 hours and a full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
- Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40°F for 2 or more hours or that has an unusual odor, texture, or color. When in doubt, throw it out.
- If food in the freezer is colder than 40°F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
- Contact your doctor if you are concerned about medications having spoiled.
- Don't use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned, and dried. Some appliances keep electrical charges even after they have been unplugged.