Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo declared a state of emergency for Newport County late Monday night after National Grid suspended natural gas service to 7,100 customers due to a pressure problem.
Most of the customers are in Newport, Middletown and Portsmouth, National Grid said in a statement.
On a night when the temperatures are expected to be in the single digits, Raimondo urged residents whose gas was shut off to seek shelter. A warming center has been set up at a middle school in Middletown.
“It is dangerously cold this evening,” she said in a press conference on Monday evening. “This is an all-hands-on-deck effort.”
National Grid said customers without service can also check into a hotel and the utility will reimburse them.
National Grid said the service was suspended “out of an abundance of caution” due to a low transmission supply issue from its gas supplier, Algonquin Gas Transmission Co. Restoration could take several days, the statement said.
The company has deployed 1,000 workers, who will go “door to door” checking gas levels at customer’s homes, Tim Horan, president of National Grid in Rhode Island, told reporters during a late evening press conference.
He also apologized to customers for the loss of service on a frigid winter night.
“The extreme cold is a major concern for us and we apologize for this significant disruption,” Horan said in the statement. “We encourage all to check on the elderly and your neighbors and ensure you have a plan to stay warm.”
Abigail Feldman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.