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The Latest: Utility head hospitalized for medical emergency

January 23, 2019
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A National Grid worker checks residences and businesses, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019, in Newport, R.I. On Monday night, National Grid suspended service to roughly 7,100 customers in Newport and other parts of Aquidneck Island because of an issue from its supplier that caused low pressure outages. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) — The Latest on a natural gas outage in Rhode Island (all times local):

10:10 p.m.

National Grid President Tim Horan has been hospitalized after suffering a medical emergency at the podium during a news conference on the gas outage in Rhode Island.

Horan and Gov. Gina Raimondo had been addressing the media late Tuesday evening when Horan collapsed.

National Grid spokesman Ted Kresse tweeted about two hours after the incident that Horan is doing well and should be released from the hospital Tuesday night.

Kresse says the utility company’s Chief Customer Officer, Terry Sobolewski, will assume Horan’s duties on an interim basis.

National Grid says it’s suspended service to roughly 7,100 customers on Aquidneck Island because of an issue from its supplier that caused low pressure outages across Newport and Middletown.

Horan said earlier Tuesday that restoring service could take days.

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2:10 p.m.

A Rhode Island woman whose home is one of about 7,000 without natural gas service to provide heat while temperatures plunge below freezing plans to stick it out in her house.

Elizabeth Brooks says she and her husband are staying put despite pleas by Gov. Gina Raimondo for people affected by the loss of gas in Newport and Middletown to go someplace warm in the week or more it could take to restore service.

The retiree from Newport says their home has multiple fireplaces and they have an electric blanket. She says she’s more annoyed than anything at the inconvenience and never felt in danger.

But she knew something was wrong when she awoke Monday, turned up the heat, and nothing happened.

National Grid turned off the gas due to potentially dangerous low pressure.

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12:30 p.m.

Utility National Grid has started the painstaking process of going door to door in parts of Rhode Island to restore natural gas service to thousands of customers on one of the coldest days of the winter.

Tim Horan, president of National Grid Rhode Island, said Tuesday that the effort in Newport and Middletown could take days.

He says the problem caused by low pressure could have led to explosions during re-pressurization but stressed that the “integrity of our system is safe and intact.”

The utility has set up a customer information center at Gurney’s Newport Resort where citizens can go with questions about the outage and even get vouchers for hotel rooms.

Newport Mayor Jamie Bova says the city’s schoolchildren may be out of school for a week during restoration efforts.

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8:30 a.m.

Thousands of natural gas customers in Rhode Island are without heat on one of the coldest days so far this year.

National Grid says it’s suspended service to roughly 7,100 customers on Aquidneck Island because of an issue from its supplier that caused low pressure outages across Newport and Middletown.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo declared a state of emergency for New Port County after the city reported the outages late Monday night. Temperatures were about 9 degrees early Tuesday, and the lack of heat forced officials to close Newport’s courthouse.

National Grid says it has multiple teams assessing the situation, but cautions that it could take days to restore service.

Raimondo urged residents without heat to leave their homes. The utility says it will reimburse room costs for customers in need of lodging.

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