Assisting our dark skies campaign, it is uncertain when power will be restored to much of Charlestown.
But a nighttime walk reveals that the chirp of crickets is overwhelmed by the whine of generators. And if you don't have a generator that wonderful fish in the freezer is a sodden mess.
Nearly 300,000 Rhode Islanders were without power Sunday night as National Grid workers begin to repair the "catastrophic damage" Hurricane Irene inflicted on the state's electrical system.
Restoring power to all communities will take several days, according to Tim Horan, regional president for National Grid. Some can expect to remain in the dark until the end of the week. Horan said he does not yet know which areas will remain dark the longest and the company will have a better handle on the estimate after further assessing the damage overnight.
"The damage is extensive. It's amazing the size of the poles that have fallen," Horan said. "We know it will be multiple days."
Major transmission lines are out of service, and 20 substations — about one-third of the number in the state — are offline. National Grid has 600 employees in the field working to repair the damage, but efforts are hampered by the sheer number of trees that have fallen. The problem is not concentrated to any specific pockets of Rhode Island, but is widespread, Horan said.
National Grid is working first on "critical customers" — hospitals, police stations and fire stations — as well as repairing major transmission lines to get as many people back online as quickly as possible, Horan said.
"I can stress this is a long, long-term event. It's going to be a multi-day event to get power back to all our customers," he said. "But we're looking to get as many back as quickly as we can."
The tree damage and resulting power outages are, fortunately, the worst impact of Irene, Chafee said. The storm came ashore in Connecticut and New York early Sunday morning, lashing Rhode Island with wind gusts up to 60 mph, less than the hurricane-force winds for which the state was bracing. But the storm continued for much of the day, causing extensive damage to trees that hadn't experienced such sustained winds in 20 years.
"We've been spared the massive flooding; we've been spared the storm surge, but we have, as you all know, extensive tree damage," Chafee said. "National Grid has been working hard to get your power back. They have given this their highest designation. They've categorized it as a ctastrophic power outage here in Rhode Island."
The power outages are contributing to the already hazardous conditions on the roads. Traffic lights are out throughout the region, prompting Gov. Lincoln Chafee and RI Police Col. Steven O'Donnell to urge Rhode Islanders to stay in their homes as much as possible both for their own safety and so crews can work freely to repair the damage.
While Progressive Charlestown is in low-energy mode we encourage you to visit South Kingston Patch.com for continuing coverage of the aftermath of Irene.