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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

UIL Holdings Offers Hurricane Season Preparation Tips


In a release, UIL Holdings noted: June 1 "marks the start of the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season, and there is no better time to prepare your home and family for whatever Mother Nature may send our way."
The following also is from the release, shared here unedited and as a public service for those interested in the tips and information:

 
 
Storm preparedness is among our top priorities at UIL Holdings Corporation (NYSE: UIL) and our gas and electric utilities: The United Illuminating Company (UI), The Southern Connecticut Gas Company (SCG), Connecticut Natural Gas Corporation (CNG) and The Berkshire Gas Company.
“We plan year-round for storms. Our crews and equipment are always at a high state of readiness, and we continually maintain and improve our gas and electric infrastructure to be resilient against severe weather,” said John J. Prete, Chief Operating Officer for UI Electric Operations and Vice President of Technical Services.
Customers, too, can take prudent steps to reduce the impact of potential severe weather. One way they can do this is by staying informed.
New this hurricane season, UI customers now have access to information about severe weather and power outages by subscribing to Storm & Outage Alerts. Customers can sign up at uinet.com and choose to receive alerts by text, e-mail or voice message for important communications from UI related to severe weather events, as well as power outages affecting their homes or businesses. The service is free, although standard message and data rates may apply to text messaging.
  • Storm Alerts:  Receive important communications from UI before or during a large storm or emergency situation.
  • Outage Alerts: Receive specific outage information related to your accounts, including acknowledgement that we are aware of your power outage, estimated restoration time (when available) and notice when service is restored.
 
The alerts are among a series of measures that UI, like the other UIL companies, has implemented to improve its posture in the face of severe weather threats, drawing on lessons learned during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. UI has also participated in statewide readiness drills in 2012 and 2013, spent $11 million to harden its coastal substations against the threat of flooding, and set in motion a series of longer-term measures intended to harden its physical infrastructure, upgrade its systems and improve the recovery process.
“Our goal is to minimize service disruptions, and restore service as quickly as possible when they occur,” said Joseph D. Thomas, UI’s Vice President for Electric System Operations.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. This month, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center issued a forecast saying this season will likely bring eight to 13 named storms (sustained winds of 39 mph or higher), of which three to six could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including one to two major hurricanes (winds of 111 mph or higher).
The information below may help customers prepare for severe storms.
Home Generators: 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 now 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 visit 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.
Medical equipment: 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 800-722-5584 for information.
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 or trees touching power lines, or if you need to report an electrical power outage, or smell natural gas, call your utility toll-free with the location and any specifics. Keep these numbers handy and programmed into your mobile phone.
Visit UI’s Storm Center:
Visit the Storm Center at uinet.com to find the Outage Map and Town Outage List — updated every 15 minutes with outage totals across UI’s territory. You can also find additional storm-related information, including Restoration Priorities, Storm Tips and Storm Safety information.
Follow Us on Social Media:
During fair weather, you can find the latest news, events and promotions related to your UIL utility on our social media sites. During storms, we’ll also post restoration updates, news, safety notices and important information. Find us and follow us at:
Editor's note: All information in this post was contributed. Click one of the buttons below to share it.

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