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Nashua;41.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/skc.png;2014-10-25 08:38:02
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  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Shari Trabucchi and her son George, 12, carry groceries and ice from Jeanotte's Market to their home in Nashua's north end Tuesday, November 1, 2011. The family has no electricity but is getting by with a gas fireplace and stove.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    More damage on Berkeley Street in Nashua Tuesday, November 1, 2011.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Facebook Don Himsel at The Telegraph


    Dave Simkins and Joanne VanDiver work on planning in the Hudson command center trailer Tuesday, November 1, 2011.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Facebook Don Himsel at The Telegraph


    A crew trailer is part of the PSNH command center set up at the Hudson Walmart.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    A city Park and Recreation department crew cleans up storm debris on Berkeley Street in Nashua Tuesday, November 1, 2011.
  • Staff photo by Don Himsel


    Facebook Don Himsel at The Telegraph


    The PSNH command center trailer in Hudson Tuesday, November 1, 2011.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011

PSNH wants people to call in power outages: 800-662-7764

With slightly less than two-thirds of Greater Nashua still without power Tuesday night, PSNH continued bringing in crews and equipment to help repair lines, although support remained below numbers at this point during the 2008 December ice storm.

Three days after the ice storm, PSNH reported “over 500 line and tree crews” in the state, dealing with what were then 177,000 customers without power.

By the end of Tuesday, three days after the pre-Halloween snowstorm, PSNH reported between 300 and 400 tree and line crews – more arrived throughout Tuesday, from up to two times zones away – to tackle around 120,000 customers without power.

The difference is due, PSNH said, to the geographic spread of the recent disaster, which hit from West Virginia to Maine.

“Because this is a regionwide storm, our neighbors aren’t able to give us help because they’re restoring their own territories,” said Michael Skelton, PSNH spokesman. The snowstorm affected most of the Northeast, so assistance had to come from utilities and provide crews working on contract, from as far away as Tennessee, Ohio and Colorado.

“We’d much rather have them driving from Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island,” Skelton said.

The situation was similar with Tropical Storm Irene, he said, but it wasn’t obvious in the Nashua area because that storm largely skipped us.

“It’s really quite amazing that we had two storms back to back, with all this stress in New England utilities,” he said.

Late Tuesday, President Obama reportedly signed a New Hampshire emergency declaration in response to the Oct. 29-30 storm, according to NBC News.

Earlier Tuesday, PSNH set up mobile command centers in south Hudson, next to the Walmart store on Lowell Road, and in Amherst, at The Meeting Place shopping center on Route 101, to coordinate work in the hardest-hit areas of the state, which include Windham, still 90 percent without power as of Tuesday night, Hudson and Hollis.

The trailers at Walmart in Hudson were hooked up to PSNH command center via “network in a box,” a portable router, switch and wireless system put together by PSNH network analysts Arthur Bartlett and Michael Morris for emergency situations like this.

“It gives us the connection we need,” Bartlett said.

The two trailers with PSNH logos and nearby bucket trucks were set up Monday evening and quickly drew attention from powerless passers-by.

“About 10 o’clock, a woman knocked on the door and asked when she would be getting electricity back,” Bartlett said.

Figuring out where to send crews involves a three-step process, starting with damage assessors who drive all area roads, noting where trees or limbs are down, and where lines, poles or transformers are affected. This information is combined with information about the power grid in the region – which lines connect where, and how many customers use them – and maps of priority sites like hospitals and schools.

These are then used to create priority lists and maps for scheduling repair work.

Then tree crews must be sent out to clear the wood. If necessary, “diggers,” the term for those who repair or install utility poles, then go out.

Only then can the line crews go out to do the equipment and line work needed to get electricity flowing again.

David Brooks can be reached at 594-6531 or dbrooks@nashuatelegraph.com.