Dec 18, 2023
PROVIDENCE, RI (December 18, 2023) – Rhode Island and the entire New England region was hit with a fierce windswept rainstorm this morning that brought significant tree and limb damage, as well as street and coastal flooding to the area. Peak wind gusts were well over 60 mph as two to three inches of rain fell in different areas, with coastal flooding two to four feet higher than normal high tides. As of 3:00 p.m. this afternoon, more than 750,000 customers were without power across New England. There are approximately 22,800 customers without power in Rhode Island.
“This was a very severe storm that ripped through the region, and with the ground already saturated and trees weakened from last weekend’s storm, we expected we would see significant outages today,” said Dave Bonenberger, president of Rhode Island Energy. “And while we’ve been able to get many customers restored, we’ve also seen some challenges in getting our buckets up in the air with these ongoing winds.”
More than 64,400 customers were impacted by the storm in Rhode Island, with more than 41,600 having already been restored. The peak of the storm hit around 10:00 a.m., when Rhode Island Energy had roughly 41,000 customers without power. Due to the continued presence of high wind gusts and the potential for more outages, the Company currently anticipates the vast majority of customers will be back online by Tuesday evening. However, there will be some outages impacting single customers or only a few customers that could go into Wednesday.
Rhode Island Energy secured hundreds of additional line and forestry workers prior to the storm’s arrival. In total, there’s more than 1,600 personnel responding to the storm, providing both field-based and back-office emergency response operations across the region. This includes overhead line, forestry, contractors, underground, damage assessment, wires-down, transmission, substation, municipal liaisons, and call center staff.
Estimated Times of Restoration (ETRs) will continue to be refined on Rhode Island Energy’s Outage Central site throughout the day and night as more damage assessment is completed. As a reminder, ETRs posted on Outage Central often show when the last remaining customers will have their power restored in a certain community, but many customers will likely have it back before that community’s posted ETR.
Crews will continue working – as safely and quickly as possible – around the clock until all customers have their power safely restored. For their safety, line workers do not go up in their buckets when winds continue to gust over 35 mph.
Rhode Island Energy reminds customers to always stay clear of downed wires and to call them in to the Company or local first responders. Customers should also be cautious of flooded basements, as wet electrical wiring is dangerous and floodwaters can shift appliances which can cause a gas leak. Additionally, customers who are without power and using a generator are reminded to be sure the generator is located well away from their home or business and that the transfer switch is working properly.
About Rhode Island Energy
Rhode Island Energy provides essential energy services to over 770,000 customers across Rhode Island through the delivery of electricity or natural gas. Our team of 1,300 employees is dedicated to helping Rhode Island customers and communities thrive, while supporting the transition to a cleaner energy future. Rhode Island Energy is part of the PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) family of companies addressing energy challenges head-on by building smarter, more resilient and more dynamic power grids and advancing sustainable energy solutions. For more information visit www.RIEnergy.com and stay connected on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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