Massachusetts and Utilities Respond to October Nor’easter

Electric utility officials say it may take two days to a week to get service restored to about half-a-million  customers in Massachusetts, following Saturday's damaging snow storm. New England Public Radio's Kari Njiiri reports.

Sandra Ahearn is a spokesperson for Western Mass Electric Company, which had150,000 customers lose power during the storm. She says the scope and scale of the outages is unprecedented in the utility's history.

“The damage to the system was just so severe because of the heavy wet snow, the high winds, and the fact that most trees still had a full leaf canopy, just was a recipe for disaster.”

Ahearn says 125,000 customers remained without power as of this [Monday] morning, with the heaviest concentration of outages along the Connecticut RiverValleybetween the Vermontand Connecticutborders. They include the towns of Greenfield, Hadley and sections of greater Springfield. National Grid says 350,000 customers were without power as of Monday morning, with Central Massachusettsthe hardest hit. 46,000 N-Star and 18,000 Unitil customers were without electricity. State officials say 15-hundred crews from the state and as far away as Texas, Louisianaand Canadaare being deployed to help cut and clear trees and branches responsible for knocking down power lines. Governor Deval Patrick, meanwhile, is urging the public to stay away from any downed power lines.

“There are people out trying to clear tree limbs away from their driveways or front walks. If those tree limbs are wound up in a power line, please, please don’t undertake to do that clearing yourself. Call your utility.”

The governor, who declared a State of Emergencyover the weekend, says he will request a Federal Disaster Declaration for additional resources to help respond to the latest storm.