UI Offers A Few Valuable Tips for The Holiday Season

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Dec 062018

United Illuminating, a subsidiary of AVANGRID Inc. (NYSE: AGR), reminds customers to follow some simple electrical safety and efficiency tips to ensure this holiday season is filled with safety, comfort, and joy.

“The holidays are a time for celebration, and you can help keep the holidays joyful by acting now to head off preventable accidents and bill surprises,” said Joe Thomas, UI’s Vice President for Electric System Operations. “A warm, safe home is the greatest gift for our families and friends as we gather for the holidays.”

UI offers the following tips to help customers keep their homes safe, warm and energy efficient as they “deck the halls” for the holidays.


  • Dry Christmas tree limbs and hot lights can be a dangerous combination. If you have a live tree, keep it fresh. Before you put the tree in its stand, cut its base at a 45-degree angle so it can absorb more water. Water the tree liberally — the average tree can consume between a quart and a gallon of water a day. Remove the tree promptly after the holiday, or when it becomes dry.
  • Consider using LED lights, which produce less heat and use less energy than traditional decorative lights. The cooler-burning LEDs can help reduce the drying effect on the tree.
  • All lights and cords should be factory tested; check for the UL label on the packaging. Carefully inspect cords, plugs, and receptacles for worn or frayed insulation and loose connections. Throw away damaged items.
  • Keep wires away from toddlers and pets. Push wires toward the center of the tree, and clip them securely to the branches.
  • Make sure cords are tucked away safely to prevent anyone from tripping over them. However, never run cords them under rugs, since they can overheat.
  • Keep flammable decorations away from the tree’s lights. Also, make sure that electric window candles do not touch drapes or other flammable objects.
  • Never use electric lights on metallic trees. Avoid using plastic trees unless they’re flame resistant.
  • Turn holiday lights off before going to sleep and when you leave home. Consider using a programmable timer to turn lighting displays on and off automatically.
  • Avoid overloading electrical circuits or extension cords. Follow the directions on cord labels regarding connecting light strings and extension cords. If a cord feels hot to the touch, it is overloaded and can cause an electrical fire.

Around the House:

  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace batteries as necessary.
  • Plan escape routes for your family in case of a fire or other emergency.
  • In the kitchen, keep a close watch on your stovetop, grill, and oven while in use. Never use them for heating.


  • While decorating the outside of your home, look up and around the area first to identify overhead lines and other hazards.
  • Never raise ladders, poles or other extended objects into or near power lines. Check to make sure any tree limbs you may come into contact with aren’t near power lines. Remember: no power line is safe to touch, ever.
  • Use only outdoor-approved lights that can withstand cold temperatures, and inspect them for damage.

Customers can monitor their holiday energy use during the holidays or year-round with UI’sfree Energy Analyzer. For information or to sign up, visit http://www.uinet.com.

Be sure to follow @UnitedIllum on Twitter and “like” UI on Facebook.

UPDATED: Are You Powerless? Let Us Know

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Mar 022018

As of 5:15 p.m., the UI is reporting that 63 customers are without power due to 4 incidents in town.

What the company does not specify is WHERE the power is out and WHY.

If you are without power, go to our Facebook Page, report your situation, how long you’ve been powerless and include the reason, if you know. 

What areas of town have trees/tree limbs down, damaged power lines, etc.

Thanks so much, and good luck!

At 7 a.m. on Saturday, a resident reported that power was out on Prudden Lane. “We are the 4 houses that face the Merrit Parkway. Been out since around 4 pm yesterday.”
Later in the day, she reported that the Power was back on.

This was the ONLY person to report an outage.

United Illuminating Makes Progress Restoring Service after Storm

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Nov 012017

10 Outages affecting 25 Customers as of 10:42 am Nov 1.

Crews Have Restored 23,000 Outages Since Sunday Night

United Illuminating, subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR), a diversified U.S. energy company, has made significant progress in restoring service to customers after the wind and rain storm.

UI expected to have service restored to virtually all customers before midnight Tuesday.

“Our efforts to monitor this storm and prepare for it paid off,” said Joe Thomas, UI’s vice president for electric system operations. “This early preparation allowed us to get a head start on planning and have our crews and equipment ready to respond to the storm’s damage.”

As of Monday afternoon, UI had restored a cumulative total of more than 23,000 customer outages, and fewer than 2,000 customers remained without service after the storm, which brought heavy rains and wind gusts up to 60 mph into the region overnight Sunday. Strong winds continued throughout the day Monday, causing additional outages.

UI reminds customers to take precautions during storms. Always stay far away from downed lines. To report downed wires, call UI at 800-722-5584 or 911 with the location and any specifics.

To receive UI Outage Alerts, sign up at uinet.com, or text “REG” to 839-884 to get text alerts sent to your mobile phone. Customers can also report outages by mobile: Text “OUT” to 839-884.

Energize Connecticut Announces 12th Annual eesmarts™ Statewide Student Contest

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Jan 122016

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 2.07.42 AMEversource and The United Illuminating Company, as partners of the Energize Connecticut initiative, are now accepting entries for the 12th annual eesmarts Student Contest. The contest encourages students to demonstrate their knowledge of energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability by completing grade-specific assignments. The deadline for entries is April 1, 2016.

The eesmarts Student Contest is open to Connecticut students in Grades K-12. Additionally, new to the program this year is a college level playwright category entitled “Wright the World,” and a new separate 12th grade category. Finalists in all categories and grade levels will be honored at a special awards ceremony on April 29, 2016 at the State Capitol in Hartford.

“Over the past 11 years, we have encouraged students across the state to demonstrate their understanding of smart energy with creativity and to develop sustainable solutions that help our environment,” said Bill Dornbos, Chairperson of the Connecticut Energy Efficiency Board and also with the Acadia Center. “We are excited to be able to expand the contest this year to include college students.”

The new “Wright the World” category invites college students, enrolled in a two or four year college or university in Connecticut, to write a 25-30 minute play that supports the eesmarts curriculum and mission. The play should be written for a young audience, preferably Grades K-5. It must explain how energy is made, identify energy resources, clarify what it means to be energy-efficient and sustainable, and provide examples of energy-efficient technology. The winner of this category will receive $500 and have the opportunity to cast and perform the play during the 2016-2017 academic year at schools and/or educational centers across Connecticut.

Students in Grade 12 will compete in a new category that challenges them to create a persuasive image that advocates for energy conservation, an alternate energy source, or an environmental concern, and showcases their knowledge of this subject area. Entries, which can be a short poem, cartoon or 30-second video, will be evaluated based on scientific validity, and concise and convincing imagery.

Students in Grades 9-11 compete in the community service-learning project award category, which asks students to propose a community-based project to address an energy-related issue. Students may work in groups of five members or less in this category and winners’ schools will receive eesmarts program funding of $1,500 for first place, $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place to make their proposed project a reality during the next school year.

Students in grades K-8 answer grade-level specific prompts in the form of a poster (Grades K-2), narrative (Grade 3), news article (Grade 4), book review (Grade 5), essay (Grade 6), speech (Grade 7), or public service announcement (Grade 8).

For grade levels K-12, first prize winners will also receive a $200 Amazon Gift Card, second prize winners a $100 Amazon Gift Card, and third prize winners a $50 Amazon Gift Card.

For more information about the contest, visit www.eesmarts.com/contest

BREAKING: Orange Firefighters Respond To House Fire On Avon Drive Sunday Morning

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Feb 152015

avon house fireOrange Volunteer Firefighters were called to 637 Avon Drive around 5:30 a.m. for a structure fire.

When first responders arrived an elderly couple had already fled the house and was safely inside a vehicle.

Other fire apparatus and firefighters quickly arrived within 4 minutes and  set up near a fire hydrant.

The temperature was near 18-degrees f, but winds surely made it feel much colder.

Medic 33, the UI, and the Woodbridge Volunteer Fire Department RIT (Rapid Intervention Team) all were called to the scene.

(This story was developing as Orange Live was reporting it)

Turns out that it was a garage fire.

Second Fire Call On Sunday

At 11:22 a.m. the Fire Dept responded to 111 Cricket Lane for a fire inside the wall.

The residents evacuated the home before firefighters arrived.

What’s The Hold Up?: The UI’s Power Restoration Priority List

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Feb 082013

The UI Outage Map

If you look out your window, you will see that the snow already has begun to accumulate. The UI was preparing for this storm yesterday, with workers up on the poles doing preventive maintenance work.

As of 8:20 there are NO power outages in UI Land, but if you do lose power it’s important to know how the company decides which areas get priority attention.

From the UI Website:

Service restoration depends on the magnitude and duration of the storm or other event causing the service interruptions. UI’s general sequence of service restoration is:

First Priority

  • Public safety requires the de-energizing or cutting down of downed primary voltage distribution lines, including road clearing.
  • Restoration of service to previously designated public emergency service institutions such as major hospitals, evacuation centers, as prioritized by municipal officials.

Second Priority

  • Service restoration to a maximum number of customers in a minimum amount of time using available work forces. This usually involves the removal of trees and limbs, the bypassing of some damaged equipment and the re-energizing of primary voltage distribution lines.

Third Priority

  • The repair and restoration of equipment and lines serving small groups of customers.

Fourth Priority

  • Although the restoration of service lines to individual homes or buildings is designated as Priority 4, they will in most cases be done at the same time as other restoration work designated with a higher priority. This is accomplished by using crews not normally associated with distribution restoration work.

In some cases, storms may damage electrical equipment on a customer’s property that’s not part of UI’s electrical system. It is the customer’s responsibility to repair this damage before we can restore service. The pamphlet linked below may be able to help you determine who is responsible for repairing damaged equipment.

United Illuminating Receives Emergency Response Award for Recovery

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Jan 112013

James P. Torgerson

For the second consecutive year, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) has honored The United Illuminating Company and its parent company, UIL Holdings Corporation with its Emergency Response Award for Recovery.

This award recognizes UI’s planning and successful restoration of customers after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. UI won a similar EEI award last year, in recognition of its restoration efforts following Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

UI also received a 2012 EEI Assistance Award for the work UI crews did with assisting other states and utilities restore power during the Derecho in Maryland and Washington D.C. in July of 2012 when winds of 60 – 80 mph left more than one million customers in the dark.

“The fact that we have now been presented with three major awards from EEI in two years’ time is a testament to the hard work of our employees and our partners during the severe weather events of 2011 and 2012,” said James P. Torgerson, UI and UIL’s president and chief executive officer. “I am tremendously proud of the men and women of UI.”

Hurricane Sandy, which struck Oct. 29, 2012, was one of the largest and most destructive Atlantic hurricanes on record, causing significant damage to UI’s electric system and leaving wide areas of the company’s territory without electric service.

During the lead-up and response to the storm, UI benefitted greatly from what it learned during Irene to restore electric service to all customers safely and swiftly, activating its newly updated emergency plan and employing a “forward-leaning” strategy that had just been freshly tested in a statewide drill in July.

When Hurricane Sandy arrived, UI greeted it with 700 staff and contract field personnel, mobilized and ready to begin restoring service. Thanks to UI’s pro-active planning and updated strategy, this initial field force was larger than the peak field staffing that UI staged after Irene. The field force eventually swelled to approximately 1,200 as mutual assistance crews poured in from as far away as Canada and Missouri.

UI worked directly with municipal leaders and first-responders to ensure roadways were clear of hazards, and to restore local priorities such as hospitals and emergency shelters.

Meanwhile, it used multiple communications channels to ensure customers and stakeholders had the information they needed when it became available. It deployed an automated calling system to reach out to vulnerable medical hardship customers, and engaged other customers via both traditional and social media, issuing storm instructions, readiness tips and other proactive messages.

In the end, UI was able to restore electric service to virtually all of its customers — excluding those who could not accept service — within eight days of the storm, ahead of all stated goals.

Torgerson noted that UI itself has benefitted from mutual assistance on several occasions, including Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

“We understand how important it is to get electric service back on quickly and safely after a devastating storm,” he said.

Thursday Police Briefing: Restoration Continues, Safety Reiterated, Extended Dump Hours

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Nov 012012

UI and Highway Department trucks out on the road Thursday afternoon.

Town Highway and UI continue to work together to restore power.  UI reports that restoration will begin on Friday.  There may be periods of outages while power is being restored.  Travel can still be difficult.  Be aware of low hanging wires and branches. Use caution at intersections as traffic controls may be out.  Report new power outages to UI at 1-800-722-5584.

Continue to use generators in a safe manner.  Generators should be at least 20 feet from the home.  They should not be covered. They should never be used indoors or in open garages.  Residents should not overload the generator with extension cords.  Cords can become hot and cause a fire.   Residents on generator power can cause damage to power lines if the main switch in their home is not off.

Residents should use extreme caution when using chainsaws or other tree clearing tools.  Always be aware of wires and other people when clearing debris. Trees may have been weakened by the storm and can fall when working beneath.

Perishable food left unrefrigerated for an extended time should be discarded as it may be unsafe to eat.

Dump hours have been extended to Sunday 830 to 430 for leaves and storm debris.  The Public Works Department will pick up storm debris cut to 6-8 foot lengths at curbside through middle of November.

The Emergency Shelter at High Plains Community Center is open.  Showers and Charging stations are available 24 hours a day.  Residents should bring their own toiletries, bedding and medications.  Pets are welcome.

Residents can elect to receive these messages via cell phone, text or email by visiting ctalert.gov.

Please be safe during this recovery period.