October Storm Report Released
PSNH today released a report on the utility’s restoration efforts following the recent October Nor’easter...
Another Record Storm—and Record PSNH Response
PSNH Reviews Historic October Nor’easter
CONCORD, N.H., November 30, 2011 – Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) today released a report on the utility’s restoration efforts following the recent October Nor’easter that caused extensive damage to the electrical system and left more than 300,000 New Hampshire homes and businesses without power. PSNH President Gary Long presented the report and discussed the company’s strong performance during a hearing on the storm with the Governor and Executive Council and representatives of other New Hampshire utilities.
“PSNH was well-prepared to respond to this unseasonable, historic storm, and I am extremely proud of the incredible effort put forth once again by PSNH employees, retirees, and the hundreds of contractors who came from near and far to help New Hampshire electric consumers in the wake of this nor’easter,” said Long. “Despite extensive damage to the electrical system, we were able to restore power to more than 100,000 customers within just 48 hours.”
More than 3 million homes and business from New Jersey north to New Hampshire were impacted by an unusual October storm that dumped more than 30 inches of snow on some southern portions of the Granite State. The restoration was the third largest in PSNH history, with more than 237,000 PSNH customers without power at the peak of the storm.
“We all understand that it’s natural to look for someone to blame when our lives are inconvenienced unexpectedly,” said Long. “But it’s not always appropriate or constructive. The only villains here are Mother Nature and the trees that toppled, knocking down power lines. PSNH’s workforce and the army of outside contractors, and the municipal and state officials who worked side-by-side with us to rebuild the electric system, clear roads, and to safely reopen and restore vital services are to be commended.”
In its storm report released today, PSNH details its preparation in advance of the storm, the restoration process, and the unique weather conditions and timing of the storm that contributed to its devastating impact. The storm’s wet heavy snowfall coupled with vulnerable trees still carrying their foliage was cited as the primary cause of outages.
“Falling trees and debris caused virtually all of the outages associated with this storm,” said Long. “We estimate that up to 60 – 80 percent of the trees that caused outages fell from outside of the trim zone.”
Looking ahead, Long suggested policymakers review the laws and regulations that guide utility tree trimming programs, with a goal of improving them where possible. But, given that New Hampshire is the second most forested state in the nation, he noted that severe and extraordinary weather events, by their nature, will result in damage to utility systems. “The most productive action we can take is for utilities, local municipal officials, and state policymakers to continue to work together to ensure we are prepared to respond to future severe weather events,” said Long. “Customers can also aid this effort by ensuring they are adequately prepared as families and individuals to safely ride out future storms.”
“You had my family back on in 23 hours – that was fantastic, and you guys are making great progress every day for the people that are still out.” —Mark Hurley, Goffstown Fire Department
I lost my power Saturday night and got it back on Thursday at about 4 p.m. I would like to say thanks and hats off to the logistics team and to all of the line crews and tree crews that made it happen. I work for the Hudson Highway Department and was able to see first hand the devastation of the ice storm a couple of years ago, and this recent storm, as I was in it. Please keep up your efforts and thanks again.” —Derek Desrochers, Hudson
Given the circumstances, PSNH has done yeoman work to restore service to many suffering households. I want to warmly thank all of the men and women who are working at risk and personal sacrifice. Their service, and those of the teams that have graciously come from out of state, is much admired.” —Sen. David Boutin, Hooksett (NH District 16)
I have lived in Mason for about 15 years. I have had storms take out power for days at a time, like this ‘Snowtober’ one, but I thought it was time to contact you. You guys have always done your best and I know you do not hear it often enough (even from me) but, thanks for a job well done.” —John Ouellette, Mason