More than 1,500 homes and businesses in Westerly, R.I. recently endured several days without heat and hot water just before Christmas due to a problem with a utility gas pipeline, according to a report by Bloomberg Businessweek.
National Grid says crews went door to door in Westerly on Dec. 22, 2011, to close off natural gas meters of 1,600 customers as it worked on a distribution problem, according to the report. Utility spokesman David Graves said crews worked through the night and had secured about 800 meters by roughly 7 a.m. on Dec. 23 after air got into the system, causing extremely low gas pressure.
Many of the affected customers lost gas for more than two days, and at least one business owner said that National Grid should make compensation for the business losses that he sustained. Chris Champagne told the local ABC News affiliate that sales at his Westerly restaurant were down 50 percent during the outage.
Some homes had to wait to have gas service restored because the occupants didn't answer the door when technicians visited, according to a story in the New London Day. Utility gas technicians left tags with a number for homeowners to call to have their pilot lights relit.
National Grid expects to take full responsibility for the problem. Spokesperson Jackie Barry says anyone who's taken a loss from the gas shutoffs should file a claim with their claims department, according to the ABC News report. Barry said that all gas was restored by the afternoon of Dec. 24.
To read the Bloomberg Businessweek story, click here.
To read the ABC News story, click here.
To read the New London Day story, click here.