National Grid officials said on Tuesday that they are ready for the expected gusty winds and heavy rain that is forecasted to move into the area on Tuesday night.
The utility company has come under fire for previous storm responses, including during a snowstorm last fall.
In July, state Attorney General Martha Coakley proposed fining the company a record $16 million for what she said was an inadequate response to the October storm and also Hurricane Irene last August.
The National Weather Sevice has issued a wind advisory for Salem that runs from 4 p.m. on Tuesday through 6 a.m. on Wednesday.
“As a result, National Grid crews and support staff have been put on alert and are prepared to respond in the event of service interruptions,” National Grid said in a written statement released on Tuesday.
National Grid said company officials have been working proactively with municipal officials in its service area, which includes Salem, to keep them updated on preparations and provide contact and safety information that can be passed along to residents in the event of wind damage.
“We have been tracking this front, and preparedness plans are in place to make sure our crews are ready to respond as quickly and safely as possible,” Kathy Lyford, National Grid vice president of electric operations in New England said in the prepared statement.
National Grid said its customers should be prepared in the event that they lose electrical service. Residents should have on hand a number of working flashlights, at least one battery-operated radio and an extra supply of batteries in the home.
Also, the company suggests posting National Grid’s emergency outage reporting number — 1-800-465-1212 — near your telephone.
An outage can be reported online – from your smartphone, for example - at www.nationalgridus.com in the Outage Central section of the company webpage.
Here are some tips from National Grid to minimize inconvenience and maximize safety in the event of a storm-related power outage.
- 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 National Grid’s 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 it’s 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 company’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-322-3223.
- National Grid customers who experience outages should call National Grid’s outage line at 1-800-465-1212 immediately to expedite restoration.
- Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage period.