COMING BLIZZARD: Prepare for possible power outages
The United Illuminating Co. (UI), which serves Shelton, is preparing for the impending blizzard. Some forecasters have said wind gusts from 55 mph to 65 mph are possible, which when combined with large amounts of snow, could lead to power outages.
UI officials are monitoring forecasts and has been readying crews and equipment. They have made arrangements with contractors to ensure that adequate resources are available to address any power outages that might occur as a result of the storm.
James P. Torgerson, UIL Holdings Corp. president and CEO, said the electric provider is “making sure our crews and equipment are ready and appropriately positioned to respond quickly and effectively. As always, we are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.”
Company officials told customers to be prepared for the possibility of outages, noting that heavy snow could limit access to roadways and complicate outage restoration efforts. Here is some information customers may find helpful.
Sign up for UI’s Outage Alerts. The company will let you know when it is aware of your power outage, provide an estimated restoration time (when available), and send you confirmation when your service has been restored.
Text “REG” to 839-884 to get outage alerts sent to your mobile phone by text message. Or, sign up for your choice of text, phone or email alerts by visiting www.uinet.com.
Report outages, gas emergencies
Always assume downed power lines are live and dangerous, and be mindful of natural gas odors. If you see a downed power line or trees touching power lines, or if you need to report an electrical power outage, or if you smell natural gas, call your utility toll-free with the location and any specifics.
In UI, the number to call is 800-722-5584 (800-CALL-UI).
Prepare your home
Make sure you have 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, too. Fill containers with drinking water and keep a supply of canned or dried food, as well as any medications you need.
Charge your mobile phone so you can report outages or emergencies. Store key contacts in your phone’s memory, and keep a paper copy for backup. Check your fire and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure the batteries are in proper working order.
If you lose service
Keep sensitive electronic appliances such as computers, TVs and stereos plugged into a surge protector, or unplug them. They could be damaged if a power surge occurs when electricity is restored.
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. For information about food safety, visit http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/charts/refridg_food.html
Never use your stove or oven as a space heater to stay warm. Only use space heaters intended for indoor use inside or in enclosed spaces, following the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are unable to keep your home heated safely and comfortably, call
Infoline at 2-1-1 for resources that can help you and your family.
Any generator that plugs into a home’s wiring should be connected via a transfer switch by a licensed electrician. This ensures that when the generator is in use, house wiring is isolated from utility lines. Improper installation can damage the generator, or create hazards for utility employees working on poles, or even the general public.
UI leases and installs an affordable automatic transfer switch that safely connects your portable generator to your electric meter to allow you to run your home’s equipment directly from your circuit breaker panel. Call 877-447-8743 or go to www.uinet.com/shieldandconnect for information.
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 someone in your home uses electronic life-support or medical-monitoring equipment, develop a backup plan in case an extended power outage occurs. UI has a program to register life-support customers. Call UI at 800-722-5584 for information.
Keep gas meters clear
If you are a natural gas customer, keep any outdoor gas equipment, such as a meter, regulator or piping, clear of snow and ice. Use a broom rather than a shovel to avoid damaging the gas equipment.
Also, when conditions are safe, check your roof and gutters to make sure there is no snow or ice buildup that can fall on your gas meter or piping, or block vents.