GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

December 10, 2012

National Grid to address Cape Ann's power concerns

By James Niedzinski
Staff Writer

---- — MANCHESTER — While some residents may be in the dark about the progress — or lack of progress National Grid has made, the Board of Selectmen met last night to talk about infrastructure issues facing the town.

When National Grid needs to work on fixtures or infrastructure, they need a permit allowing them to tear up and remove sections of road. Within the permit, it states the company must replace and repave the area within a reasonable amount of time.

Officials said that has not been the case.

Residents have been complaining about a section of Ashland Road, the company first began work there in the summer time, said Town Administrator Wayne Melville during a Monday phone interview.

Ashland Ave was repaired and paved just last week, but there are other power problems throughout Manchester.

Rosedale Ave proves to be another dark spot, where some street lights have been out for nearly a year, Melville said, adding the town is still paying for it.

Melville said the power problems go further back than National Grid. The infrastructure was poorly maintained by a local power company, before being bought out by National Grid many years ago.

Susan Thorne, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said the issue is due in part to miss-communication between the company and the town.

She added it has been hard to contact the right people in the past.

“We did have someone assigned to us, but the company restructured about two years ago,” Melville said. “Since then, it’s been a revolving door of different people.”

Now Dan Cameron, the director of community and customer management, acts as the power liaison for Cape Ann.

Cameron acknowledged there has been some issues in Manchester in the past, but some problems take time.

“I know we have invested a lot of money to infrastructure improvements,” he said.

Cameron said he was unsure of why Rosedale Ave improvements have taken so long, only hearing about it last week.

Melville said officials National Grid submitted an application to work on Rosedale Ave yesterday afternoon.

Before any work is done, a public hearing has take place and another permit has to be issued.

Cameron said the company is acknowledging the growing power needs and outage concerns throughout Cape Ann.

National Grid is backing an 11 million dollar project bringing more underground power lines from Beverly to Gloucester. In addition substations in Beverly, Manchester, Gloucester are all going to be overhauled, resulting in fewer outages and adding more capacity.

Cameron will be in Gloucester to talk further about National Grid effort in Cape Ann, he added the new systems should be up and running in June.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at jniedzinski@gloucestertimes.com.