11/06/2011 Leave a comment
October ended with a crippling snowstorm that left thousands without power for days. Trick or treating on Halloween was cancelled or postponed for youngsters all over the commonwealth. Here we are a week after the storm and there are still many without power. Outraged at the failure of National Grid and NStar, Senator Scott Brown was quick to go public with his disappointment. Many other political figureheads quickly followed suit and hence an investigation of the power companies has begun by the Attorney General, Martha Coakley’s office.
On Halloween morning as most of Massachusetts woke without power, Scott Brown wrote stern letters to the heads of the four largest power companies criticizing their lack of preparation. “Brown expressed ‘outrage’ over what he claimed was a lack of adequate contingency plans. He said it doesn’t appear utilities had the necessary assets in place to quickly respond to outages caused by the storm.” Many were disappointed with the loss of power specifically because of Hurricane Irene this summer. New England was hit hard by the August hurricane that caused billions of dollars in damages. Most were optimistic about the Halloween storm since we are suffered a major storm only two months prior.
Contrary to Senator Brown’s disappointment was Governor Deval Patrick who described the utility companies’ responses as “terrific.” “I think the utilities’ plans are sound. I think they’re executing on those plans well,” he said at a press conference at the Framingham headquarters of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. “The number of crews – I think I’m right about this – is unprecedented.” MA democrats started blasting Brown for being to hard on the power companies but that would soon change, as power was slow to come back on as the week progressed.
The office of the Attorney General announced they would be investigating the power company’s response to the Halloween storm. Martha Coakley made this announcement four days after the storm and partially in response to not only Senator Brown but also Newton Mayor Warren and Rep Niki Tsongas who both publically made known their disappointment. Coakley said Wednesday that her office has received a number of complaints regarding the power restoration process by utilities. Gov. Deval Patrick has asked for a formal investigation by Massachusetts’s utility regulators into the response by the power companies to the October nor’easter. After a week of slow reaction, the Governor had to change his tone as both National Grid and NStar executives clearly did not get the message.
As a resident of Walpole, MA, I lost power sometime Sunday evening and did not have power back until early Wednesday morning. I, like many across the state, am worried about the future. We are about to turn out clocks back this weekend and winter is right around the corner. Hurricane Irene and the Halloween snowstorm were both unexpected and many if not all residents of Massachusetts were affected. Let’s hope that the investigation can create some positive results for the rest of 2011 and early 2012.