Progress Being Made to Restore Gas Service
We are happy to report that National Grid continues to make significant progress shutting off gas meters throughout the City. As of this afternoon, over 6,000 households out of an estimated 6,400 have had their meters safely shut off. Once again, work is expected to continue through the night, with the goal of beginning the final phase of restoration by Saturday.
The following is the latest information we have related to the Restoration Effort:
· In order to provide information related to the gas incident and to complete the relight process, National Grid personnel will be going to door-to-door.
· As a reminder, every National Grid employee carries a photo ID card, and any contractor doing work for the company is also required to carry ID. If someone requesting entry into your home or place of business does not show an ID card, don’t let that person in and please call National Grid or your local law enforcement.
· National Grid has also deployed Community Assistance Vans with customer service representatives at Gaudet Middle School in Middletown, and a 24-hour Information Center at Gurney's Newport Resort to provide lodging and meal assistance.
· Portable space heaters continue to be distributed at Gurney’s Resort on a first-come first-served basis. (Proof of residency required, limit of 2 per-household)
· For those residents who have maintained gas service throughout the outage, we do not expect you to lose service. For those who have been impacted by the shut off, please know that your patience and cooperation is greatly appreciated.
· Homeowners and residents are also urged NOT to attempt to re-establish service on their own. The system requires a trained professional to ensure the safety of our neighborhoods and integrity of the system.
Information Regarding Meals, Transportation, and Unemployment Assistance
· If you’re in need of transportation, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) will be providing free bus service across Aquidneck Island, with routes reoriented in order to provide direct access to the island’s primary warming shelter at Gaudet Middle School in Middletown.
· For those employees and businesses affected by the gas outage, the Department of Labor and Training will be providing immediate unemployment benefits to qualified workers. We expect to have more information regarding this program on Thursday, January 24th.
· Warming centers remain open at:
o Gaudet Middle School - 230 Turner Road, Middletown
o URI Student Center - 50 Lower College Road, Kingston
o Donovan Manor –19 Chapel Street, Newport
· National Grid will cover the following costs on a reimbursement basis, as long as they are directly related to the gas event at hand:
o Reasonable lodging accommodation while gas service is unavailable
o Reasonable meals while gas service is unavailable
o Up to $250 per household for temporary heaters (i.e. space heaters)
o Customers should keep receipts and complete a claims form.
· Senior meal sites at Edward King House, 35 King Street and Middletown Senior Center, 670 Green End Avenue will remain open, as well as the Meals on Wheels Program
· 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, and complete a claim form, available at www.NationalGridUS.com/Aquidneck-Island
For Newport Public School families, the School Department is reminding students of the following information:
· Schools will remain closed through the end of the week.
· The Pell School staff will continue to distribute their backpack food program to all the regular participants at the Pell school lobby beginning at 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. Any additional families in need of assistance can come at 2:30 p.m. and food will be distributed on a first come first served basis until 3:30 p.m.
· Also starting meals for Newport Public School students and families will be served by Chartwells, the school’s food service provider, at the Florence Gray Center, with breakfast from 7:30-9:00 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 am -1:00 p.m. There are no daycare services available and all children should be accompanied by an adult or guardian.
· Recreational opportunities and programs for students are being offered by the Newport Boys and Girls Club at the Florence Gray Center on 1 York St.
· For students ages 10-17 beginning at 9 a.m. there will be programming and recreational equipment available for students 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Current and new members welcome.
· For students that are presently enrolled in the after-school program at the Church Street location, the program will be relocated to the Florence Gray Center for the time being. Students must be enrolled in the program to participate. Hours will be 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. Children must be registered to attend, new participants (with signed application - available on site) will be welcome pending availability.
In City Business:
· Newport City Hall will be open tomorrow, Thursday January 24th
· A special Waterfront Commission meeting regarding proposed changes to the Newport Harbor Ordinance scheduled for Thursday is being rescheduled due to a later date
· The Newport City Council meeting that was originally planned for Wednesday, January 23rd is expected to be rescheduled for Feb. 13th
In addition to local resources, the governor has activated the National Guard and State Police to assist in the emergency response. Please note that this is an unprecedented event and we’re urging residents to check in on friends and neighbors who might be impacted by the outage. Warming Centers at Gaudet Middle School in Middletown will remain open throughout the night.
We’ll continue to update this space through the duration of the outage, with real-time updates posted to the City’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
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 at https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/ED2357CE5BE2Aquidneck Island Low
Non-emergency questions about service can be addressed by calling National Grid’s customerservice number line at 1-800-322-3223. If you smell gas –call 1-800-640-1595 or 911