Electrical and natural gas utility NSTAR is warning its Massachusetts customers to prepare for possible power outages from Hurricane Sandy early next week. In a written statement (pdf), the private utility is advising residents to prepare a storm kit. NSTAR recommends the kit contain flashlights with spare batteries, a battery-operated radio or TV, a first-aid kit and medications, canned, freeze-dried or dehydrated foods, a manual can opener, bottled water, baby or pet supplies and important phone numbers.

NSTAR says it is on high alert and that workers are prepared to mobilize. On Oct. 25, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick warned utilities to submit plans for dealing with the storm by the next day.

Utilities operating in Massachusetts came under intense criticism last year for the amount of time it took them to restore power after two major storms. NSTAR serves 1.4 million customers in Eastern and Central Massachusetts.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.