Pelham, Salem residents without power following powerful stormBy CHRIS GAROFOLO
Union Leader Correspondent
March 08. 2018 9:15PM
PELHAM — Liberty Utilities on Friday announced it has contracted additional cleanup crews to help restore power to those impacted by a winter storm earlier this week, with a focus on Pelham and Salem.
The two New Hampshire communities were among the hardest hit following the nor’easter that dumped a foot of wet, heavy snow across the region. In total, 30 line crews and 21 tree crews are on scene, which is more than an average storm due to downed power lines.
Those extra hands on the ground accelerated the process in Salem, as the municipality’s substation came back online shortly before 3:30 p.m. on Friday. All customers associated with the substation — Main and North Main streets, Atkinson Road, Bluff Street and Zion Hill and Shadow Lake roads — were expected to regain power before the end of the day.
“We got a good chunk of (customers) back once that substation went live, approximately 3,000 in Salem went back online,” said John Shore, communications and media relations manager for Liberty Utilities.
“We’re chipping away at them,” he added. “We’re pretty confident that by Sunday late afternoon that we should have just about everybody back.”
Crews working Thursday night into Friday morning were able to restore power to more than 8,000 households. With the addition of the Salem substation customers, about 24 percent of ratepayers in town remained impacted by the winter storm; 54 percent of Pelham customers remained without power as of Friday evening.
Downed wires are still a priority in Pelham, and crews have been dealing with a more challenging situation, Shore said.
“We’re making good progress in Pelham, it’s a little slower over there,” he said. “We have a lot of smaller trouble areas that are affecting a smaller number of customers, so they’re plowing through those. We got contractors in from Green Mountain Power, Eversource and actually we have six more coming to help out (today) as well.”
Pelham Fire Lt. Patrick M. Weaver said Friday was a very busy day for the department, with multiple calls relating to carbon monoxide — everything from faulty batteries to high levels of the poisonous gas in residences.
“We’ve had people running generators too close to the house, we’ve had people running generators inside their house,” he said. “We’re telling people at least 20 feet away from the house with the generator with the exhaust facing away from the residence and to make sure they have working battery-operated CO2 detectors.”
Those still experiencing power outages who require a warming shelter may visit the Ingram Senior Center located at 1 Sally Sweets Way in Salem — residents are asked to bring their own bedding, toiletries and medications — or the Pelham Senior Center and Town Hall at 8 Nashua Rd. and 6 Village Green, respectively. The Salem Athletic Club, located at 16 Manor Parkway, is open to any residents wishing to shower.
Police in both towns are requesting residents to clear snow from hydrants and catch basins as part of the post-storm cleanup.