UI Steps Up Preparations as Christmas Eve Storm Approaches - 12 pm

ORANGE, Conn. — December 24, 2020 (12 p.m. EDT) — United Illuminating (UI) has brought in additional line and tree crews and mobilized employees to work over the holiday weekend in advance of a rain and wind storm expected overnight tonight.

Forecasts call for rain and potentially damaging winds starting tonight and intensifying into early morning hours on Friday. Gusts could reach 60 mph, powerful enough to bring down trees and limbs, damage electrical equipment and cause service interruptions.

UI said outages could be widespread across its service territory, and customers should be prepared for the possibility of multiple-day outages. Downpours combined with melting snow could also cause localized flooding and associated hazards.

“At UI we have an obligation to provide safe and reliable service to our customers, and to restore service quickly when power goes out. That obligation is 365 days a year, including holidays, and you can rest assured that our crews, contractors and support staff are ready to respond. They will stay on the job until every customer has service,” UI President Frank Reynolds said.

UI has been actively preparing for the storm all week, and in addition to crews working today and overnight, we will have a full complement of crews activated to restore service on Friday, with additional line and tree contractors standing ready to join the effort. Line crews are also en-route from out-of-state to participate in the restoration effort should they be needed.

The company’s Emergency Operations Center will open tonight and remain open through the course of the event. The Customer Care Center will be staffed over the holiday and weekend as required. On request, UI will assign liaisons and dedicate crews to work with local towns and cities to make roads safe and restore local priorities. The company will also have staff assigned to take emergency calls from 911 dispatchers.

UI advises customers to be prepared year-round for the possibility of weather-related outages, and to have a plan in case of an extended loss of service. Customers can find safety and readiness information, and other resources, at uinet.com.

Before a Storm

  • Sign up for Outage Alerts. Text “REG” to 839-884 (TEXT-UI) to receive free text alerts if you lose service, and for restoration updates. Or, visit uinet.com for additional alert options.
  • Keep long-lasting LED flashlights and lanterns on hand, along with a battery-operated radio, fresh batteries, drinking water, non-perishable foods and prescription medications.
  • Fully charge mobile devices and store emergency contacts in memory.
  • Fuel vehicles and fill spare fuel tanks for generators.

Medical and Life Support Customers

  • Customers who rely on life-saving medical equipment should have a plan in case of a sudden or extended loss of service. UI medical and life-support customers should register in advance to ensure the company is aware of their needs. Call UI at 800.722.5584 (800.7.CALL.UI).

Generators

  • Do not use a generator that plugs into your home’s electrical system unless it is connected via a transfer switch installed by a licensed electrician. Improperly connected generators can back-feed electricity into the outside grid and pose a danger to the public and to crews working to restore service.
  • Carefully read and observe the instructions in your generator’s operating manual.
  • Properly ground all portable generators.
  • Never run a generator indoors, in an open garage, or near a window.
  • Do not store fuel indoors or try to refuel a generator while it’s running.

Report an Outage

  • To report an outage, visit uinet.com or call 800.722.5584 (800.7.CALL.UI).
  • Report outages using the company’s new mobile app, available from the Apple Store and Google Play.
  • Report outages via UI’s mobile alerts system: text “OUT” to 839-884 (TEXT-UI). Registration is required.

Additional storm readiness and safety information

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