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Rhode Island's Main Unemployment Insurance Call Center Experiences Lengthy Power Outage

August 17, 2012

If you tried to call Rhode Island’s Unemployment and Temporary Disability Insurance call center yesterday morning, you probably didn’t get an answer.

The Department of Labor and Training said its call center in Cranston was closed because of a power outage. The call center, usually only staffed until noon, remained open until 2:30 yesterday to handle the extra call volume.

According to DLT spokeswoman Laura Hart, power went out in Cranston at between 7 and 7:30 a.m. and came back on at around 11 a.m. Callers could reach the call center, but they could not hear agents who answered their calls.

The center did have generator power, but the generator was insufficient to fully power the call center.

The power outage resulted from strong storms that moved through the area Wednesday morning. The storms caused street flooding from torrential rains and even caused a waterspout to form over Narragansett Bay.

A waterspout is a tornado that forms over water instead of land. Fortunately, they rarely cause damage unless a boat is near the formation.

New Englanders can expect extreme downpours and even extreme winter snowfalls to become “the new normal.” Environment America reports that severe storms have increased 85 percent in frequency throughout New England since 1948.

Vermont and New Hampshire have been hardest hit, and some in the area blame climate change for the trend.

“This report proves that the storms really are getting worse,” said Paul Burns, executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. “And if we want to reduce the likelihood of more devastating storms in the future, it's time now to stand up to all those who continue to deny science, shirk responsibility and oppose progress on clean energy solutions.”

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Edited by Braden Becker

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