National Grid warns heavy snow threatens utilities

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — According to National Grid, its crews are ready for snow issues, like heavy snowfall posing a threat to residential electric and gas service. Build up of heavy, freezing snow represents a potential hazard, threatening to cut off power by breaking infrastructure. The weight, moisture, and low temperatures can snap, crush, tear, and damage vital equipment.

The utility says they’re ready to handle any damage to its system because of the snow storm. They also sent out precautions for customers.

Gas safety

Ice and snow around gas meters, regulators, and pipes are a safety risk. Ice and snow falling from the roof can damage meters or connections to buildings and cause gas leaks. If you suspect a gas leak, leave the building immediately without triggering electronics like telephones, light switches, or garage door openers. Report it to the utility company and don’t return home until they tell you it’s safe.

When clearing snow, be careful of damaging meters, hitting gas risers, or piling snow around vents, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. They also warn against operating a generator inside. Doing so can also lead to CO poisoning, which is potentially fatal.

Electricity safety

Rooftop snow and ice accumulation burdens electricity service wires—also known as the weatherhead—that carry energy inside. Those live wires are a fire hazard as snow and ice melt or are removed. National Grid says that even wood conducts electricity in extremely wet conditions. Follow these pointers to stay safe:

  • Keep ladders, shovels, rakes or other tools clear of lines connecting the structure to the grid.
  • Clearing snow starting at the other end of the roof from the electricity service point
  • Contact a professional if you don’t know how or need help with a challenging roof
  • Beware of burying or damaging meters as you remove rooftop snow
  • Never touch downed power lines
  • Shut off the main breaker to disconnect from National Grid’s system before operating a generator

Finally, National Grid says to call (800) 642-4272 and register as a life support customer if you depend on electricity for life support equipment.

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