4,700 N.H. customers remain without power

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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – Thousands of New Hampshire homes and businesses still were without power Wednesday from Monday’s ice storm.

The storm left more than 50,000 homes and businesses without electricity overnight Monday. Line crews worked to reduce the number to about 12,300 by late Tuesday night. By Wednesday evening, about 4,700 customers still were without power.

The area most affected by Monday’s ice storm stretched from the Manchester area in the north, to Nashua in the south, to Keene in the west.

Public Service Company of New Hampshire expected most of its affected customers in southern New Hampshire to be back online by mid evening Wednesday, though some in the Keene, Derry, Milford and Nashua areas might have to wait until today.

“With thick ice continuing to coat power lines, repairs are taking longer than normal. Ice-coated limbs and branches must be lifted off lines by manually banging ice off the trees,” spokesman Martin Murray said.

At Unitil, spokeswoman Stephanye Schuyler said Wednesday afternoon that power had been returned to nearly all 5,500 homes and businesses affected, mostly in the Seacoast area, though a handful of isolated cases required more repairs.

Earlier, she said if the temperature rises, more outages could result as ice melts and falls onto power lines.

“It’s the kind of storm where you can’t win,” she said.

In the Salem area, National Grid worked Tuesday to restore power to about 500 customers, down from about 5,700.

And the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative reported about 300 members were without power Tuesday, down from a high of about 1,000, mostly in the Raymond area.

Scores of school districts either called off classes Tuesday or delayed opening.

The outages were concentrated in the southern and southwestern parts of the state, where a mix of sleet, snow and freezing rain coated roads, trees and power lines with ice.

AP-ES-01-17-07 2035EST

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