The City of Newport provided the following update at 10:10 pm on Friday;
As of Friday evening, we’re able to report that National Grid has successfully completed 100% its gas meter shut off process and is beginning to bring pressure back into the system. Once the purging process is complete, National Grid will begin restoring natural gas service to those affected by the outage, with re-lighting beginning as early as Friday evening or Saturday.
We anticipate the re-lighting process to begin in full on Saturday, with work continuing throughout the day and the overnight hours.
National Grid will contact impacted customers with an automated call when crews are ready to enter the field to begin the re-light process. In order to help facilitate the process, all affected customers are encouraged to update their account information with the most up to date contact information, either by logging into your National Grid account, or calling 1-800-870-1664.
If you’re staying in your home overnight and are open to crews knocking on your door in order to re-light your appliances, National Grid asks that you leave a porch or exterior light on.
As a reminder, we ask that you please do not attempt to re-light any appliance on your own. Trained National Grid technicians will re-light everyone that is without service.
Additionally, please be aware that National Grid crews must wear identifying tags and will generally not ask for customer account information.
Also beginning Saturday, a total of 20 National Grid Customer Service vans are due to be stationed strategically throughout the city to assist customers as the re-lighting process gets underway. These vans will be critical points of contact for residents over the course of the final phase of operations. Their locations are found at bottom of this post.
- Rogers High School & the Newport Area Career and Tech School will re-open on Monday with buses running on their regularly scheduled routes.
- Pell Elementary School and Pre-K at the JFK Annex will also re-open on Monday with buses running their regularly scheduled routes.
- A decision has NOT been made regarding whether to open Thompson Middle School on Monday. We will provide an update as soon as one is available.
- With the restoration process ongoing, Gaudet Middle School will continue to remain open for those in need as both a warming shelter and for food and lodging assistance. Hours of operation, however, will be limited to 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily until service is restored. National Grid customer service representatives as well as Red Cross volunteers will remain on hand to answer questions and provide regular meals for those in need. A National Grid representative will also be on site overnight to assist in lodging assistance.
- Community Potluck in The Point!
On Saturday, Jan. 26th from 5:30-8 p.m., all are invited to the Guild Hall at St. John’s Church in The Point, at 61 Poplar St. for a community potluck dinner. All are welcome to attend, and anyone with heat is asked to make your favorite dish, donate extra toiletries, or bring along non-perishable foods such as baby food, snacks, to benefit those in need. All leftover goods will be donated to local food pantries. For more information, email KatieSokol@gmail.com
- Lyft is offering 2 free rides to area shelters and hotels through 1/31 to any rider using the code: ReliefRides. Rides are limited to $15 each and are intended for drop offs to Gaudet Middle School, the Newport Marriott, and Gurney’s Resort.
- RIPTA is offering free rides throughout Aquidneck Island, with special shuttle service to Gaudet Middle School. Visit Rhode Island Public Transit Authority for more information on schedules.
- The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center Emergency Food Pantry is open Sat. Jan. 26th & Sun. 27th 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. for Newport residents displaced by the ongoing gas outage & in need of food. The center will have prepacked bags of food that can be microwaved or eaten as is. Bring your photo ID.
RESTORING GAS SERVICE
Restoring gas service to those who have lost service will be a multiple day process. This is a methodical process that will take some time (approximately 45 minutes per customer), and will require the following steps:
- National Grid gas technicians will need to physically enter all impacted properties. National Grid will never engage with a locksmith to enter unoccupied premises to turn meters on or re-light appliances.
- An individual over the age of 18 must be present on the premise for the re-lighting process to commence.
- If the customer is at their premises when technicians arrive, National Grid will either turn the meter on outside or enter the premises to turn on the meter and then re-light all gas appliances.
- Unlike our process in Phase I, we will not enter the property without the customer on the premises.
- For the first 72 hours of the re-light phase National Grid will not be accepting individual appointments for technicians. The Company encourages customers to make themselves available at their premises during daytime hours.
- A specialized task force will be deployed focused on critical facilities to relight and support customer needs.
- For those customers who have winterized or had their systems drained (e.g. heating systems), National Grid will be unable to re-light their appliances until the system is back to normal operating conditions. Customers are encouraged to contact their trusted HVAC technicians in advance of the re-lighting process.
During the re-light phase, we’ll be posting updates to our Facebook page, as well as to the City’s website with information to inform affected residents of progress in restoring to gas to individual neighborhoods.
FOR MEALS & DINNER INFORMATION
- National Grid has secured Stop and Shop gift cards, which are being distributed at various points throughout the City, including at Gurney’s Resort.
- Hot meals will be provided once again at Gaudet Middle School on Friday, courtesy of the American Red Cross
- Lunch and Dinner on Saturday will also be served at Gaudet Middle School, the Mainstay Hotel, Newport Marriott and the Ramada in Middletown
- In addition, the following Food Trucks will be setting up across the City with free meals from 11- 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
- Binge BBQ, of Newport, will set up a tent at Pell Elementary School
- LoBro Taco is open at 88 Broadway
- FanTex-Mexical Tacos Food Truck will host customers at the Newport Police Station,
- Poppy’s Waffles Food Truck will be stationed at the City’s King Park
- Haven Bros. Food Truck is located West Marine, located on West Main Road in Middletown
- Senior meal sites at Edward King House, 35 King Street and the Middletown Senior Center, 670 Green End Avenue remain open while Meals on Wheels deliveries also continue on schedule.
- Breakfast will continue to be available from 9-10:30 a.m., and lunch from 11:30-1 p.m. at the Florence Gray Center, 1 York St, Newport through Sunday, Jan. 27th.
- And the Boys & Girls Club staff will be delivering box lunches to the Newport Marriott, Hampton Inn, and the Mainstay at 11:00 a.m. for school students.
FOR HELP WITH LODGING & SHOWER INFORMATION
National Grid is continuing to place those affected by the outage in hotels across the state, with vouchers still available for off-island stays. Additionally, out-of-pocket lodging expenses will be reimbursed by National Grid. Anyone in need of lodging assistance is asked to visit either Gurney’s Resort on Goat Island, or Gaudet Middle School shelter in Middletown.
- Shower facilities are being offer at Planet Fitness in Middletown and at the Newport County YMCA to anyone in need.
- The Potter League for Animals remains the primary point of contact for anyone in need of boarding facilities for the pets.
- We encourage customers that are having difficulty in securing lodging to speak with a community liaison at Gurney’s Newport Resort or any of the open warming centers.
FOR RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES
- The Beach Bounce at Easton’s Beach is also open through the outage, with normal operating hours on Friday of 10-5 p.m., and weekend hours of 9-1 p.m.
- The Florence Gray Center will be open for families and children ages 10 and up from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. with open gym, Xbox, and a boxing intro
- The Boys & Girls Club will provide shuttles for those interested in Club activities from both the Hampton Inn and Suites and the Mainstay. All interested are asked to meet staff in the lobby at 9:15 a.m.
- On Saturday: Thompson Middle School students are invited to the Newport Marriott (25 America’s Cup Ave) from 12 – 3 p.m. for an Activity Day on the third floor in the Freedom Room. Students are asked to enter through the Long Wharf Entrance. There will be pizza, chips, and salsa donated from Tito’s and activities for the kids.
- On Sunday Night, Thompson Middle School student are again invited to the Newport Marriott for an Activity Night from 5 – 7 p.m.in the same location. TMS students are invited to join Ms. Raffa and Mr. Vieira for these two fun events designed to get kids out of the house for some fun! Please email Mr. Vieira (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions.
FOR EMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE
- Eligible employees affected by the gas outage may apply for expedited unemployment assistance through the Department of Labor and Training’s website at www. dlt.ri.gov/ui/UIfaq.htm
- The Newport County Chamber of Commerce is also offering helpful information to business owners in need of securing capital due to the impact of the gas outage
If you have any immediate concerns, please dial 2-1-1.
And once again, if you haven’t done so already, please sign up for the City’s Code Red alert system to be notified of any further updates on the City’s website.
Non-emergency questions about service can be addressed by calling National Grid’s customer service number line at 1-800-322-3223. If you smell gas –call 1-800-640-1595 or 911
National Grid will cover the costs of reasonable lodging and meals, on a reimbursement basis, as long they are directly related to the current gas event. Customers should keep receipts, complete a claim form found at NationalGridUS.com/Aquidneck-Island, and mail it to the address listed or email it to Claimsdept@nationalgrid.com.
We understand how difficult it is for our residents to be without natural gas, and we are working round the clock so that life can return to normal as quickly and safely as possible.
CUSTOMER RESOURCE VAN LOCATIONS
All those affected by the outage are encouraged to stop by their nearest location to ask any questions you may have, and to learn more about the process going forward.
– Easton’s Beach, 175 Memorial Blvd.
– Storer Park, Gladys Carr Bolhouse Rd.
– Miantonomi Memorial Park, Hillside Ave. at Dexter St.
– Coggeshall Elementary School, 122 Van Zandt Ave.
– Newport City Hall, 43 Broadway
– Cranston-Calvert School, 15 Cranston St.
– Newport Hospital, 20 Powell Ave.
– Braga Park (South end), 60 Ellery Rd.
– Braga Park (North end), 160 Kay St.
– Newport Gateway Center, 23 America’s Cup Ave.
– Bellevue Gardens Shopping Plaza, 181 Bellevue Ave.
– Freebody Park, 22 Freebody St.
– King Park, 67 Wellington Ave.
– Salve Regina University, 167 Webster St.
– Rogers High School, 15 Wickham Rd.