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December 27. 2012 10:14AM

Unitil advises customers to keep electric meters, gas vents fee of accumulating snow

HAMPTON - Unitil Corporation, is advising customers to keep electric meters and gas vents free of accumulating snow and ice.

Heavy snow and icicles can have an impact on home meters, especially natural gas meters and vents. As snow accumulates, Unitil advises customers to take the following steps:

* Remove snow and ice carefully from a meter or outdoor appliance vent carefully with a broom. Do not use a shovel as it can damage the meter.

* Avoid shoveling or plowing snow up against or covering the meter or pipe.

* Remove icicles from overhead eaves and gutters to assure dripping water does not freeze the meter or vent pipe. Contact a qualified roofing vendor if you cannot reach icicles yourself.

* Do not kick your gas meter in an attempt to break ice off, as this too can cause damage.

Keeping vents and meters clear will allow for proper ventilation and can prevent carbon monoxide buildup within your home.

While there are no current plans to open the system-wide emergency operations center, Unitil staff will continue to closely monitor the forecast and will be prepared to escalate its response if warranted. Heavy snow, winds and freezing rain are expected to continue through the daylight hours today.

"We will restore power to customers and work closely with first responders to address wires down issues should they occur," Unitil Media Relations Manager Alec O'Meara said. "Crews continue to stand by as the peak hours of the storm pass over."

Unitil is providing real-time outage information online at www.unitil.com/map.

In the event of downed wires, assume all cables and wires that have fallen or dangling are energized and stay away. Be sure to avoid wet ground or puddles near a downed lined because water conducts electricity. In addition, keep away from all flooded and debris laden areas because they may be hiding downed lines. Stay in a safe place and avoid driving in damaged areas so you don't interfere with rescue and restoration efforts.

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR MEDIA: Unitil asks that when reporting outage information, outlets time stamp the information. Outage numbers change hourly and we wish to make sure the information customers receive is consistent and understandable. Re-Tweets and re-posting of old information without referencing a time can create confusion.

Customers experiencing outages should call the following toll-free numbers:

- For the NH Seacoast Area: 1-800-582-7276
- For the NH Capital Area: 1-800-852-3339
- For Massachusetts: 1-888-301-7700

You can also report outages online at http://www.unitil.com/report-outage.


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