Utilities’ Sandy Response: Weston Town Manager, NStar And National Grid Spokespeople

BOSTON — Utility crews in Massachusetts are still working to restore power to some 200,000 customers (as of Tuesday evening), following the superstorm Sandy.

And the stakes are high for the state’s big power companies, because after last year’s two major storms they were berated for their slow response.

This time around, the utilities say they have new policies in place designed to speed up power restoration and improve communication with their customers.

To check in on this response, WBUR’s All Things Considered host Sacha Pfeiffer spoke with the town manager of Weston, Donna VanderClock, who said she’s not seeing any improvement in the system. As of interview time, 51 percent of the town was without power.

Sacha then spoke with NStar spokesman Mike Durand and the president of National Grid in Massachusetts, Marcy Reed.

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  • Blahnikfamily

    The Weston Town Manager’s response were arrogant. I certainly hope Nstar prioritized volume over wealth in terms of their approach to recovery. Thousands in Natick or Framingham turned back on in 24 hours is certainly a better response than hundreds in Weston that would take days. Nice to have multi-acre estates in good weather, but in a crisis, better to live side-by-side with your less affluent neighbors. And her crack about the Nstar tree cutter only staying in town because a police sergeant was with him was obnoxious. Star should not enter Weston until she apologizes for that comment.

  • Ugh

    I’ve never commented on this site before, but I logged on and found this article for the sole purpose of writing about the Weston town manager. As a resident of the area who heard the story on my way home from work last night, I was embarrased by her responses and found her so arrogant. Couldn’t agree more with the below post and I’m sure that she won’t read this, but I hope that she has been given feedback that, especially in such a serious crisis, her response was awful.

  • Lee Picard

    I live in Weston and have no power.  The Town Manager wasn’t arrogant.  She was honest.  The 3 roads that connect the town north to south have not been open.  That is dangerous in case of an emergency.  Today, Wednesday, there is still no school.  117, a major east-west commuting road has portions closed and another area near me has massive wires ripped off poles and on the street with cones around them.  The tree was taken down Tuesday morning.  No activity towards a fix all day long.  An NStar car was there last night and I stopped to ask when they might begin work.    If you can spare an employee to watch downed wires for hours, surely you can spare one to type an update on line in a short amount of time.

    Weston has thousands without power.  Half the town so there is “volume” in Weston. You comment shows your ignorance and arrogance.  A huge tree came down in the middle of our street during the storm.  My neighbor, my husband and my 15 year old moved the tree so that the street would be accessible for an emergency vehicle.  We are a community that works together.  Guess you have bought into Obama’s class warfare.  We all want our power back, but even more we’d like some communication and an estimate of when that might be so we can make plans to deal with the situation. 

    • Weston

      Wow. As someone who lives in Weston as well, your anger comes as quite a surprise. Or not? I think that a little perspective would go a long way for you. And to bring in Obama? Class warfare?!?! Good luck to you.

      • Lee Picard

         Yes.  Original poster commented that it was best that they serve Natick and Framingham and leave the “estates” of Weston until the end.  THAT is class warfare.  We are a community with elderly and young children and people of all ages that might need the streets cleared for an emergency vehicle.  As a young mother I remember no electricity for days when I needed to warm a bottle for an infant – a nightmare.  It doesn’t matter if you live in Natick or Weston or anywhere else, we are all people with needs.  My response was a statement of fact NOT class warfare.  And please note I did use my name unlike so many others……

  • Kbetty

    I read the comments first and then listened to the interview with Donna, the Town Manager from Weston.  I didn’t find her arrogant at all, she was stating the fact that Weston has received terrible service from NSTAR, which we have.  Last year we lost power for 5 days and we are going on 3 days now without power, without any sign of action.  We have major roads still blocked by fallen trees and it is a safety issue not a wealth issue.  Just look at the NSTAR map and you will see that Weston is disproportionally worse than surrounding towns with 50% of the town without power.  I am the only one in my entire office without power.   Good for Donna for holding NSTAR’s feet to the fire.   

  • Nstar

    Our Weston neighborhood is still without power. And no, we do not have estates, but modest side by side homes. I am less concerned about the power and most concerned about the lack of access.  We are on a dead-end street with a downed pole and tree blocking all vehicle traffic.  If there is a fire or medical emergency, there is no way to get an emergency vehcile into the neighborhood.  According to Weston police, there has been only one NStar crew active in Weston since Monday.  Not a sufficient response for the situation.

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