Reading Municipal Light Department, which serves customers in Reading, North Reading, Wilmington and Lynnfield Center, has reported that it could take days for full repairs to be completed from this weekend's winter storm.
In an announcement early Sunday evening, the electric company reported that between 6,000 and 7,000 customers in its entire service territory were left without power following the storm. RMLD said that the storm had caused "devastating" damage to trees and power lines throughout the area, forcing it to seek mutual aid from other communities.
RMLD began its storm response efforts at 6 p.m. Saturday and its linemen and office staff worked through the night.
"The weight of the heavy wet snow and the presence of the leaves still on the trees holding more weight has caused many tree limbs to crack and bring wires down," said RMLD Engineering and Operations Manager Kevin Sullivan in the Sunday evening announcement. "Our crews are operating on one hour's rest from last night. We are calling them in at 7 to feed them, sending them back out to continue restoring power until midnight and then rest until 6 a.m."
Municipal light crews from Marblehead were reported to be working with RMLD Sunday on fully restoring service, and on Monday, crews from Danvers were expected to join the effort. Tree crews from Vermont and New Hampshire were also said to be working in the area, with aid requests also sent out to Worcester and Western Massachusetts. However, that region suffered far greater disruption from the storm than the North Shore.
"This will take days to repair," added Sullivan.
Meanwhile, those without power are advised to seek shelter with friends and relatives - while those who require electricity for medical care should consider going to a hospital. The town of Reading has also established an emergency shelter at Hawkes Field House at the High School on 62 Oakland Road.
Throughout the region, hundreds of thousands of people were left without electricity after the historic storm, with work crews headed to New England from as far away as North Carolina to help with repairs.