By WGBH News
Nov. 8, 2011
BOSTON — After finally restoring power to all its Mass. customers, National Grid defended its response to the snowstorm that hammered the state in late October.
On WGBH’s “Greater Boston” on Nov. 7, National Grid Massachusetts President Marcy Reed denied the claim that the company’s lax tree trimming was a reason for the recent blackouts.
“We spend $23 million every year in Mass. trimming trees. Could we do more? Of course; you can always trim more trees,” she said, adding that the company trims as much as towns will allow.
But with the Oct. nor’easter, “no amount of tree trimming would’ve helped it. We had personal trees in front yards coming over into the street, taking down equipment,” Reed said.
Attorney General Martha Coakley has requested an investigation of the utility companies’ response to the storm. Coakley’s office and the state Department of Public Utilities are already investigating the response to Tropical Storm Irene.
Meanwhile, on Election Eve, Rep. Dan Winslow wished residents could vote for power companies with their feet. Since they can’t, he’s proposed a bill to return money to consumers when the power goes out for extended periods of time.
“I proposed the power outage rebate bill because I want to change the cost-benefit calculus for the execs,” he said on “Greater Boston.” “I want to make it so cost-prohibitive to have the power go out that it’s then worth it [for utilities] to spend the relatively short money up front for maintenance, infrastructure, Smart Grid and the like.”
AFTER STORM, ACCUSATIONS AND AN INVESTIGATION