Outage hurts for businesses

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Three days without refrigeration forced the Gilford Airport Country Store to throw its milk products into the dumpster. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)

Restaurants toss inventory and lose two days of sales


GILFORD — Businesses are tallying up their losses after having been forced to close due to the loss of power brought about by Monday’s high winds.
Patrick’s Pub in Gilford, which saw power restored Wednesday, reopened at 4 yesterday afternoon after having been shut down for two days.
Allan Beetle, co-owner, said that the popular restaurant and entertainment spot lost at least $10,000 in revenue.
“Thankfully, it was Monday and Tuesday of our slow season,” said Beetle, who said that there was a loss of about $2,000 in food, already prepped, which had to be tossed out.
He said that the coolers, which are tied in to the restaurant’s walk-in freezer, were helped in being kept cold enough through the use of bagged ice from two large ice machines on the premises.
Beetle said that many employees were affected by the closing.
“Aside from our management team, who are on salary, everyone else works on hourly and tips, so many employees have been impacted as well,” he said.
Beetle said that the outage might be “the straw that broke the camel’s back, when it comes to dealing with outages.
“Perhaps this outage will put us over the top and we'll finally make the investment into a generator to stay open through these outages. We lost a Saturday night this summer, which cost more than these two days put together.”
Beetle said that some of the cost of the food, which was lost, is expected to be covered by insurance.
Also feeling the impact of the prolonged outage was the nearby Fireside Inn and Suites, located across Route 11-B from Patrick’s, which was closed for three days.
A spokesperson at the inn, which reopened yesterday afternoon, said, “We had no power and no guests for three days,” but had no estimate of lost revenue, which he said would be determined by the chain’s management.
At the Airport Country Store and Deli on Route 11 in Gilford, losses for the two-and-a-half days in which the store was closed was estimated at $6,000.
That didn’t include all of the prepped food and deli items, which were tossed out, said Julie Drew, deli manager at the business, which saw power restored around 1 p.m. Wednesday.
“I threw away everything. There’s no sense taking a chance. If the outage had only been for 24 hours we would have been all right,” said Drew, who said she itemized all the items which were lost and that will be submitted to the company’s insurer. “I ordered all fresh items and we’ll reopen Thursday morning but won’t have our usual variety until Friday."
As she spoke, potential customers, seeing activity inside the store, pulled up to the gas pumps and tried to fill their gas tanks.
Drew told them that the computers which run the pumps were in the process of being brought online and it would be a few minutes before they were working again.
She said the store also lost a substantial amount of revenue from gasoline sales.
A spokesperson at Walmart, which reopened Wednesday morning, said that any information on the impact of the storm would have to come from the company’s Arkansas headquarters.
The store manager at Shaw’s in Gilford, which remained open with backup power, was not available for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Funspot, the world’s largest arcade, reopened Wednesday after having been closed since Monday, as were most businesses in The Weirs area. A spokesperson declined comment on the loss of business due to the storm.

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The Gilford Airport Country Store was able to open on Wednesday, but its popular lunch business was still closed for lack of ingredients. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)

Spoiled food? Food stamp recipients eligible for replacement food after power outages


CONCORD — Food stamp recipients who lost food due to spoilage during the recent power outage are eligible for replacement benefits, state officials said Wednesday.

“To ensure replacement food, families must report food loss within 10 days,” Gov. Chris Sununu said. “Food insecurity remains a pressing issue for far too many New Hampshire families, and the recent storms should not force families to go hungry,”

Federal food stamp policy establishes four hours as the minimum time for a power outage in order to replace food stamp benefits.

A refrigerator, if not opened, will keep food safely cold for about four hours. After four hours without power, perishable food such as meat, poultry, fish, soft cheese, milk, eggs, leftovers, and deli items should be discarded.

“Everyone affected by the power outage should follow the four-hour power outage standard,” said state Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey A. Meyers.

“People receiving food stamps can get replacement benefits so they and their families can remain food secure while New Hampshire continues its recovery from the storm damage.”

To request replacement benefits, food stamp participants must sign a statement indicating the food loss was due to a power outage related to the storm, and state the total value of the lost food.

For more information, people may contact their local DHHS district office or call 1-800-852-3345, ext. 9700.

Cleanup continues after storm

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Crews work on Morrill Street Tuesday morning to clean up downed trees from Sunday night’s storm.  (Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Many will have to wait till Friday to have power restored


LACONIA — Schools reopened in Laconia yesterday, with the exception of Pleasant Street Elementary, which will reopen today. But a return to normal for many residents of the Lakes Region in the wake of massive power outages in the area may not take place until Friday.
Eversource reported that as of Tuesday afternoon that the utility had restored power to more than 220,000 New Hampshire customers. Fewer than 90,000 Eversource customers in the Granite State remained without power and the company said it expected work to continue into Friday in remote areas.
Many in the Lakes Region were still without power Tuesday afternoon. In Gilford more than 4,500 of the 5,747 Eversource customers lacked power. In Belmont 2,808 of the 4,210 customers were without power and in Laconia more than 5,000 of the 12,000 customers were not yet reconnected to the grid.
"We've made tremendous progress and will continue working 24/7 until all customers are restored," said Eversource NH Vice President of Electric Operations Joe Purington. "Many customers will be restored today and tomorrow. Given the significant damage to roadways and equipment, though, we do expect we'll continue restoration work into Friday."
Hundreds of Eversource workers and tree crews already at work Tuesday were joined by new crews, including more than 125 line workers from Canada and more than 100 additional tree workers, from as far away as Pennsylvania. More than 100 additional line workers are scheduled to arrive in New Hampshire by Wednesday.
At its peak, this was the fourth-largest storm-related outage in state history, with more than 270,000 customers without electricity at one time, affecting more than 450,000 people.
In the Lakes Region, the Weirs Beach section of Laconia and Route 11 in Gilford from the Laconia-Gilford town line was among the areas left in the dark. The Shaw’s and Hannaford supermarkets remained open with standby generators, but Wal-Mart and most stores in the Wal-Mart Plaza closed, as did those in the Airport Plaza and the retail complex next to Patrick’s Pub, which was closed, as was a state liquor store which had a sign in its window saying that it would reopen when power was restored.
With nearly half of the city still without power, Laconia announced that trick or treating, originally scheduled for Halloween, would be postponed until tonight from 5 to 8 p.m.
Schools were open in the Inter-Lakes School District in Meredith and Sandwich yesterday but were closed in both Gilford and Belmont.
Gilford reported that schools had power restored Tuesday and was waiting until Wednesday morning to announce whether schools would be open. Shaker Regional School District had power at all schools except Belmont High School and was also waiting until this morning before making an announcement. Both school districts cited road conditions a reason for waiting.

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Patience and caution are the order of the day as a vehicle navigates down Wild Acres Road roads still blocked by downed trees and power lines from Sunday night’s storm.  (Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

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This was the power outage map posted by Eversource as of Tuesday afternoon. You can check the status of current outages at https://www.eversource.com/psnh/outage/outagemap.aspx.


Silver lining: Outages produce customers for local inns


LACONIA — Both the Lake Opechee Inn & Spa and Mill Falls in Meredith said that they were completely booked up last night due to an influx of people who had lost power during Monday’s high winds and were looking for a place to stay until power was restored.
“We sold out Monday night and are completely booked tonight (Tuesday) said Michelle Dupont at the Lake Opechee Inn and Spa. She said that before the storm hit they were only 10 percent booked.
“We feel fortunate to be able to accommodate people and help them out,” said Dupont, adding that they allowed people who had booked reservations for last night and found out that their power had been restored to cancel reservations so that those who had been put on a waiting list could have the room.
It was also a big jump in business for O Steak and Seafood, the restaurant at Lake Opechee. Hostess Sklya Mooney said the dining room was at least twice as busy as on normal Monday or Tuesday night.
Mill Falls, which ran a special for those who had lost power, reported that they were completely sold out as well. Bookings prior to the storm were about 10 percent of those available.