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Will Tewksbury Residents Foot The Bill For Blackouts?

Power companies indicate they intend to pass along the cost of repairs to its customers.

In 2011, Tewksbury residents spent many days and nights in the dark.

They might spend a good portion of 2012 and 2013 in the red.

According to a report by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, the three major power companies in New England (National Grid, NStar and Western Massachusetts Electric) intend to slap their customers with the $160-190 million repair bill associated with the 2011 storms/blackout.

Details of how those costs will be passed along have not yet been determined, according to the report, which was published by the Boston Channel.

Ultimately, the decision to allow rate increases for the major utilities rests in the hands of the state Department of Public Utilities. However, they have rarely rejected rate increased tied to major repair costs.

Tewksbury was hit hard twice by major power outages. the first came in August, as the Tropical Storm Irene (downgraded from Hurricane status) rolled across the region.

The second came just two months later with the "Snowtober" storm that knocked out power to 90 percent of Tewksbury for several days in later October and early November. Some customers were without power for nearly two weeks. At the worst of the "Snowtober" disaster, approximately 1.4 million customers were without power in New England.

According to the New England Center for Investigative Reporting report, there have been eight major power outages in Massachusetts since 2007.

By comparison, there were just two major outages from 2001-2006, according to the report.

Thomas L. Cooke February 21, 2012 at 03:27 PM
National Grid has not lived up to its commitment to service their custormer base. They are only interested in strategic internal communication and actions to improve their profits to stockholders and not improving their infrastructure. The Massachusetts Public Utility Commission has been derelict in protecting the consumer from higher rate tariffs in the electric utility industry across this great State. It saddens me now to read the reports out New England Center of Investigative Reporting. Only now does National Grid and NStar bring the issue forward only to assume that we all have short memories in how the companies responded to the custormers needs during a very long power outage in Oct. Nov. 2012. National Grid needs to be better scrutinized on their infrastructure maintenance, before any rate increases are approved for costs for repairs for both recent power outage events here in the Merrimack Valley and in the communitys of Foxborough, MA (Norfolk County)
Thomas L. Cooke February 21, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Ecerpts from my personal correspondence sent to Governor Patrick regarding the actions of National Grid during the 70+ hour power outage Tewksbury had to endure. " . I strongly suggest that your administration convene a panel to review their response to the recent massive power outage across their service areas in this storm. I spoke to my sources within the company, formerly Mass. Electric Co. and the attitude among its top administration has changed dramatically. From my preliminary questions posed on the evening (9:30 PM) of October 30th, the officials refused to answer questions relative to restore dates and time. This official candidly spoke up relative to the management's response and reasons behind them. Management in my opinion made a cursory decision not to have crews continue to work shifts on Sunday." "I am of the opinion that they, National Grid are in a controlling cost mode for the stockholders at the sacrifice of their customers, especially the elderly and infirmed, " National Grid has not aged to their policy of customer satisfaction. They are only interested in getting their fair share of the "Wind Turbines" farm off the southeast coast (Cape Cod) up and running and rake in higher rates that the ratepayer will pay to subsidize the project(the public utility commission should scrutinize their utility cost base).
Dirk Anderson February 21, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Considering the main cause of the outages was the cutbacks by National Grid that all but eliminated trimming of branches over power lines, I would love to tell them where they can shove their repair bill.
RunningGreen February 21, 2012 at 08:44 PM
That sounds reasonable. By the way, when can I send National Grid the bill for all of the food that my family lost in the power outage?
Dirk Anderson February 21, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Twice this year I lost power for over 2 days. They owe me 2 refrigerators full of food!!! What really annoyed me both times was the prerecorded message telling me I could expect power to be returned sometime between now and July of 2018.
SoxFan February 21, 2012 at 11:07 PM
You are right that the main cause was because of less trimming.. but National Grid only cut back trimming because cities, towns, and citizens forced them to do it. They'd obviously rather spend a little to trim in advance of storms instead of spending a lot to clean up and restore after storms. People complain that the trees are being cut too much, their privacy is being intruded upon.. yet they want the limbs to magically stay away from the utility lines. You can't have it both ways.
Steve McMahan February 22, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Stop crying about your lost food, it's futile. We'll never defeat a big slumbering utility giant. Invest in a large generator that can carry your entire house.
SoxFan February 22, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Get a decent cooler and some ice.. we saved everything but the ice cream.
Bob February 22, 2012 at 08:56 PM
SoxFan, give me a shout next time and I will personally take care of the ice cream for you! I am a giver that way.

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