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February 09. 2013 9:42PM

Light snow keeps power outages to a minimum

Fewer than 500 households statewide were without power Saturday morning even as snow totals in many parts of the state totaled more than 2 feet during Friday and Saturday's blizzard.

Utility spokesmen said the state was fortunate to avoid the kind of wet, heavy snow that weighs down trees and brings down power lines.

"It's a dry, light, fluffy snow," said Unitil's Alec O'Meara. "The consistency of the snow is always going to be a major factor. In this particular case, the snow ended up being a drier consistency."

Public Service of New Hampshire reported 443 customers without power Saturday morning. Liberty Utilities and Unitil each had one customer without power, while the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative had none.

"We don't mind snow," said PSNH's Mike Skelton. "The system is built to handle snow. Wind and ice are the problem factors. We were fortunate where the snowfall was light and dry. The trees were able to withstand it."

Winds were lighter than anticipated statewide during the storm, and "didn't result in really any damage," Skelton said.

O'Meara said Unitil's outages peaked at about 400 in the Seacoast area, but power was restored "quickly" to those customers.

The utility companies brought in extra crews for the storm. Unitil had 140 crews and PSNH had 150 crews working during the storm, the spokesmen said.

Each said crews remained on duty Saturday to handle any further issues, and Skelton said PSNH crews would also be dispatched to areas of southern New England, which fared worse in the storm.

"We don't consider this event over by any stretch," O'Meara said Saturday morning.



tbuckland@unionleader.com


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