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News Jan 31, 2013 - 2:57:27 PM

UI: Significant progress on storm restoration

By United Illuminating Company

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ORANGE, CT - The United Illuminating Company, electric subsidiary of UIL Holdings Corporation (NYSE: UIL), is making brisk progress as it restores service to customers who lost power as a result of Thursday morning’s wind storm. The company expects to restore the majority of customers by Friday at noon. The remaining outages are isolated issues that will require more labor intensive work.

The heavy winds and rain that swept through the region early Thursday morning caused extensive damage and left thousands of customers without service throughout the 17 towns and cities that UI serves. As of 1:30 p.m., only 3,228 customers — or barely 1 percent of customers — were reported to be still without power.

The company focused on several large outage events in Bridgeport and Stratford, and then targeted other scattered outages.

“We’ve had crews out all morning working on this, and I’m very encouraged by the progress they’re making,” said James P. Torgerson, UI’s president and chief executive officer. “We were ready for this storm. We’d been tracking it for a while and started making preparations for it Wednesday, well before it arrived. We understand that loss of electric service is an inconvenience for our customers, and we’re working hard to get it back to everyone.”

The storm affected service to over 27,000 customers. Trees and limbs falling on power lines were the main reason for outages. UI reminds customers to be on the lookout for downed wires and damaged electrical equipment, and to stay far away for safety’s sake. The company offers the following tips:

When the Lights Go Out

If you still have Internet access on a laptop or mobile phone, you can visit the Storm Center on to see outages throughout UI's service territory on the Outage Map and Town Outage List. You can also learn about our process for restoring power on the Restoration Priorities page.
Keep sensitive electronic appliances such as computers, TVs, stereos and VCRs plugged into a surge protector, or unplug them. They could be damaged if a power surge occurs when electricity is restored.
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Some foods may last up to 24 hours if the doors are kept shut.
Avoid using candles indoors – they may present a fire hazard.
Call UI at 800-722-5584 (800-7-CALL-UI) to report outages or service emergencies using its automated reporting system, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Promptly reporting outages using this system will speed restoration efforts.

After a storm:

Assume downed wires or damaged electrical equipment are live and dangerous — as well as anything they may be touching. Stay at least 20 feet away, and keep children and pets indoors.
Storm debris can hide fallen power lines. Live electrical lines may also be touching trees, fences, and other objects. The ground immediately around a downed electric line may be energized. Keep your distance.
Call 911 to report any conditions that may present a public danger; then report it to UI by calling 800-722-5584 (800-7-CALL-UI). Remember to report specific details as they are known.

Storm Cleanup:

Take note of overhead lines before cleaning gutters, removing snow from the roof or performing other outdoor work at home. Assume that all overhead lines are energized, even if you’ve lost power, unless your utility or a licensed electrician informs you otherwise.
When carrying ladders and long-handled tools, check your path to make sure you won’t cross overhead lines.
Always keep yourself and your equipment at least 10 feet away from overhead lines, including lines from the pole to your home.
Use only non-conductive ladders when working near overhead power lines.

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