Number Of N.H. Customers Without Power Dropping, Full Restoration Expected Monday

Nov 28, 2014

The capital dome framed by snow on Thanksgiving, 2014.
Credit Jack Rodolico

Update: 10:23 AM Saturday

The number of New Hampshire customers without power after the season's first major snowstorm is down to about 40,000.

At the peak, more than 200,000 homes and businesses were without electricity after the storm Wednesday night, the fourth largest outage in state history.

Public Service of New Hampshire reported about 39,000 homes and business without power Saturday morning, mostly in the southern part of the state. It expects to have electricity fully restored by Monday.

Unitil reported nearly 1,300 outages in the Concord area. It expects power to be restored by the end of the day.  

Friday PM:

Crews are still working to clean up the fourth largest power outage in state history.

The important message is that not everyone will have power back by Friday night, and some will not be restored until Monday. Temperatures are going to drop Friday evening.

Tens of thousands of people all over the state - especially the Concord area, down the I-93 corridor and toward the seacoast - spent Thanksgiving in the dark.

"We had a turkey sandwich, which was fine," says Patty Reynolds, of Gilford. Reynolds, who uses a wheelchair and a respirator, took refuge in a warming shelter in Laconia, one of more than a dozen that have opened up all over the state. "It was very nice. The gym was extra crispy warm," she says, "My husband’s still in there sleeping. He had a hard day too, he’s stressed out over me."

“This was a really widespread event with significant damage in a lot of portions of the state,” says Lauren Collins, a spokeswoman for PSNH.

As of Friday morning, PSNH had about 110,000 people without power. That number is about half what it was when the lights first went out a day earlier. Power crews from Canada and all over the Northeast worked through a second snow storm Thursday night and Friday morning, and will plow through today.

A Community Emergency Response Team truck was mobilized to the Laconia warming center.
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

  “We have a lot of resources at our disposal right now, but they are being used everywhere,” says Collins.

PSNH expects to have all customers restored by Monday, with most communities receiving power over the weekend.

Both New Hampshire Electrical Cooperative and Unitil have 8,000 to 9,000 customers without power, respectively.

N.H. Electrical Cooperative expects its customers will come back online between Friday and Sunday.

Spokesman Alec O’Meara says most Unitil customers will be online Friday night, with the exception of a small number of homes with damaged power lines on their property.

“At the beginning of an outage you’re knocking off customers at about 500 to 1,000 at a time,” says O’Meara. “As we get toward the end of a restoration process it sort of draws out like a blade.”

There is no way of saying who will and won’t have power Friday night.

“Colder air is coming in and tonight’s lows - as the skies become mostly clear - are going to be in the single numbers and lower teens,” says Eric Schwibs, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

Power companies and state safety officials are advising those without heat to seek shelter with family, friends or at an emergency shelter in your area.

Also generators which are not properly connected can by a safety hazard to households and crews working on power lines.

Shelter locations are available by dialing Call 211.