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Raimondo declares state of emergency in response to extreme cold and National Grid gas turnoffs

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Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has responded to the dangerous cold and sudden lack of heating for 7100 customers in Newport County by declaring a State of Emergency and activating the Rhode Island National Guard.

Audio of the press conference

“At approximately 11 o’clock today we started receiving some calls from our customers on Aquidneck Island receiving low pressure on their gas system and some concerns with the gas,” said Tim Horan, President of National Grid Rhode Island. during a press conference earlier in the day. “This appears to be a lack of gas transmission supply to our system around that time…

“Our system is safe, it is operating the way that it should be. This is not like the over pressurization in Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts. This is an under pressure issue gas transmission line into our system.

Governor Raimondo told affected residents to leave their homes if they are without heat and seek shelter in one of several warming centers set up in the area. National Grid will be reimbursing customers for hotel stays and Lyft or Uber rides to shelters. People are instructed to call 211 if they are unable to leave their homes.

“This is going to a multi-day event,” said Horan. “We need to assess everything in the areas right now which is critical to get a clear sense of what’s going on… The system is safe. If you have concerns or smell gas, you need to call 1-800-640-1595.”


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Asked about the cause of the under pressure event, Horan explained, that “we get our gas from the transmission suppliers. We weren’t getting that gas, then when you don’t get that gas and there’s a draw on the system, you get an under pressure situation.”


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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade. atomicsteve@gmail.com

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