Gas outage knocks out heat to 7,100 amid very low temps

Published 01-22-2019

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NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) - Thousands of natural gas customers in Rhode Island are without heat Tuesday, when temperatures started in the single digits and weren't expected to rise above freezing all day.

National Grid on Monday suspended service to roughly 7,100 customers on Aquidneck Island because of an issue from its supplier that caused low pressure outages across Newport and Middletown.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo declared a state of emergency for Newport County after the city reported the outages. Temperatures were about 9 degrees (-13 Celsius) early Tuesday.

The governor deployed the National Guard to get people without heat to somewhere warm. Call 211 and "we will come and get you," Raimondo said.

National Grid deployed more than 1,000 workers to assess the situation, but cautioned it could take days to restore service to everyone.

"The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our number one priority and concern, and National Grid is working around-the-clock to safely and reliably restore service," Tim Horan, president of National Grid Rhode Island, said in a statement.

The utility urged residents to "check on neighbors and friends, especially the elderly."

Raimondo urged residents without heat to leave their homes, and several warming centers were set up, including at Gaudet Middle School in Middletown and at the Community College of Rhode Island's Newport campus.

The utility said it would reimburse customers who stay at hotels.

Newport Public Schools and Salve Regina University, in Newport, canceled classes Tuesday although the university said the campus would remain open.

The lack of heat also forced officials to close Newport's courthouse.

A Middletown animal shelter, the Potter League for Animals, offered to take in pets of people unable to bring them to

The utility urged residents to "check on neighbors and friends, especially the elderly."

Raimondo urged residents without heat to leave their homes, and several warming centers were set up, including at Gaudet Middle School in Middletown and at the Community College of Rhode Island's Newport campus.

The utility said it would reimburse customers who stay at hotels.

Newport Public Schools and Salve Regina University, in Newport, canceled classes Tuesday although the university said the campus would remain open.

The lack of heat also forced officials to close Newport's courthouse.

A Middletown animal shelter, the Potter League for Animals, offered to take in pets of people unable to bring them to shelters or hotels.

The utility said it would reimburse customers who stay at hotels.

Newport Public Schools and Salve Regina University, in Newport, canceled classes Tuesday although the university said the campus would remain open.

The lack of heat also forced officials to close Newport's courthouse.

A Middletown animal shelter, the Potter League for Animals, offered to take in pets of people unable to bring them to shelters or hotels.

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