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Friday, September 10, 2010

Comittee Meeting on Public Works and Utilities Recap

NStar’s technical terminology, presence of numerous engineers, and a PowerPoint presentation were no match for Aldermen O’Donovan, Pero, Heuston, White, Gewirtz, and Desmond at Wednesday’s Public Works and Utilities meeting. Speaking as both chair of the committee and as an effected small business owner, Sean gave the company a glimpse of what the residents and businesses of East Somerville and Ball Square have been through in the wake of numerous power outages that have lasted up to four hours. NStar responded with a PowerPoint presentation noting work that will be completed to alleviate nuisance outages (as they described them) by installing new switches in the substation located near Ball Square.

Along with O’Donovan’s tongue lashing, Alderman-At-Large Bruce Desmond, questioned why the company hasn’t completed the upgrades and inspections (touted in their presentation) as a part of a normal maintenance schedule and how much money is actually reinvested into these upgrades. Dissatisfied with NStar’s explanation of their “rating system” of needed work, Desmond demanded a Capital report to be submitted by the next meeting date-possibly being scheduled as soon as within the first two weeks of October. This report was one of (I noted) 11 requested by the Committee.

Although no compensation is being offered to businesses, residents can call the Claims Department at 1-866-678-2792 with their name, address, and account number to schedule an inspector to come out and evaluate damage caused by outages.

Residents who have nonfunctioning street lights (mentioned by Alderman Heuston) can call both 311 (617-666-3311 for outside the city and cell phones) and 1-800-785-4837 (STLITES). Please note that all 311 records regarding broken street lights are sent to NSTAR, however, given the lack of attention please call both numbers.

As mentioned above, the next meeting will take place sometime in October and will be posted once the information becomes available. This will give all who could not make the first meeting an opportunity to speak about their personal experience with power outages and broken street lights.

Please note that the minutes and video of the September 8th meeting will be posted to the city’s meeting portal shortly.

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