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New England Power Plants running out of fuel

Electricity providers and state officials are bracing for widespread power outages and fuel shortages as a powerful storm system roars into Massachusetts today with near-hurricane force winds.

National Grid expects nearly 120,000 of its Bay State customers — about 9 percent — to lose electricity sometime today and is making preparations for the tedious, cold process of restoring power that could drag on for days.

A spokesman for Eversource Energy declined to ballpark anticipated outages but said the company is “gearing for significant impacts” for its 1.4 million electric customers.

The historic cold snap preceding today’s wintry blast has also stressed oil and liquid natural gas supplies at New England’s power plants, and the damaging winds and foot or more of snow could complicate efforts to restock power plants that are running close to empty.

“There is concern over the plants’ ability to replenish their oil supplies in a timely manner, with the pending storm likely to cause further delays in the replenishment supply chain,” said Matt Kakley, spokesman for the region’s power grid ISO New England. “Fuel oil deliveries by truck or barge can become more difficult or impossible during stormy conditions.”