With Hurricane Sandy expected to hit Connecticut in some way early next week, United Illuminating is starting to prepare for the storm and has shared some tips for customers to prepare as well.
“We’ve been watching the movement of Hurricane Sandy for several days now,” Joseph Thomas, vice president, Electric Systems Operations and Client Fulfillment, said in a statement released Thursday.
“While it’s still too early to know precisely if and when the storm could reach our area, we have put plans in place so we are prepared and our staff has been alerted, along with contractor support.”
The company is preparing both internally as well as with the municipalities it serves, according to the release. UI has also contacted additional contact crews and is coordinating its action plan with municipal emergency operations centers.
“These sorts of storms can be very unpredictable and difficult to plan for,” Anthony Vallillo, UI’s president and chief operating officer, said. “However, we have begun preparations to handle whatever this storm might bring.”
Here are some tips from UI for customers to be prepared for Sandy's impact:
Before and during the storm:
Always stay away from and avoid downed power lines. To report a downed power line or outage, please call 1-800-7-CALL-UI (1-800-722-5584) and provide the location and any specifics.
Home Generators: Any home generator that plugs into your home’s wiring should be connected via a transfer switch by a licensed electrician. This ensures that when it’s in use, house wiring is isolated from utility lines. Improper installation can damage the generators, or create hazards for utility employees working on poles, or even the general public. 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.
Medical equipment: If someone in your home uses electronic life-support or medical-monitoring equipment, develop a back-up plan in case an extended power outage occurs. UI has a program to register “life-support” customers. Call us to learn more.
Perform a Storm Inventory: The possibility of an extended outage exists whenever severe weather strikes. Take an inventory of your home and stock up on supplies.
- 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. Be sure to check expiration dates.
- 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.
Report Problems: Always assume downed power lines are live and dangerous, and be mindful of natural gas odors. If you see a downed power line, need to report an electrical power outage, or smell natural gas, please call your utility toll-free with the location and any specifics. Keep these numbers handy and programmed into your mobile phone.
- The United Illuminating Company: 800-7-CALL-UI (800-722-5584)
- Southern Connecticut Gas Company: 1-800-513-8898
- Connecticut Natural Gas Corporation: at 1-866-924-5325
- Berkshire Gas Company: 1-800-292-5012
Visit our Upgraded Outage Map: Customers of The United Illuminating Company can check out our new Outage Map online at uinet.com. The new map features zoom controls and provides details about the nature and location of outages. You can find the new Outage Map — as well our Town Outage List, Restoration Priorities, Storm Tips and Storm Safety information — at the Storm Center on uinet.com.
- Take note of any overhead lines before cleaning gutters or performing other outdoor work at home.
- When carrying ladders and long-handled tools, check your path to make sure you won’t cross overhead lines.
- Always keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet away from overhead lines, including lines from the pole to your home.
- Assume that all overhead lines are energized, even if you’ve lost power, unless your utility informs you otherwise.
- Use only non-conductive ladders when working near any overhead power lines.
- Natural gas customers should keep sidewall vents clear of debris, leaves and vegetation.
- If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you. Take shelter immediately.
- If possible, remain indoors. Keep windows and doors shut, and stay away from them.
- Do not use corded phones, computers or other equipment that puts you in direct contact with electricity. Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets.
- If you are outdoors, take shelter in your car if possible. Keep the windows and doors closed.
- If you are caught outdoors, stay away from water. If you are at the top of an elevated area, such as a hilltop, get off. Never take shelter under a tree, or near an object that conducts electricity (fences, power lines, windmills, etc.).
- If you are caught in the open, find a ditch or low ground and curl into a ball. Do not lie flat on the ground.
- If someone is struck by lightning, call 911. The victim does not carry a charge, so you may immediately provide medical attention including CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) or AED (automated external defibrillator). Lightning strike victims have a very good chance of recovery if treated quickly.
More storm-related information can be found on The United Illuminating Company’s website, uinet.com under Storm Center.