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Local Businesses Finding Ways To Cope With Power Outages

This article is more than 7 years old.
Closed sign in the window of Trident Booksellers and Cafe on Newbury Street. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Closed sign in the window of Trident Booksellers and Cafe on Newbury Street. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Almost 24 hours after a transformer fire in the Back Bay, NStar is still working to restore power to about 12,000 customers in Boston.

NStar is bringing in generators from all over Massachusetts and New York to help power up as many customers as possible. By Wednesday evening, NStar is hoping to have power restored to half of the customers currently in the dark. The rest of customers should see their power back by Thursday morning.

There were very few businesses open on Newbury Street Wednesday. At Deluca's Market, owner Virgil Aiello says the store is barely operating because they can't use the cash registers.

An employee of Deluca's Market on Newbury street helps a customer find what he is looking for with a flashlight. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
An employee of Deluca's Market on Newbury street helps a customer find what he is looking for with a flashlight. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

"We’re not really operating but we’re open. If someone needs something we’re here, we’re available," Aiello said.

In an effort to limit their losses, Aiello says Deluca's is accepting customers credit card numbers by hand. The grocery store also had a lot of their product hauled off by refrigerated trucks.

"We’ve taken some shipments of dry ice for some of the products and [other] products we bundled up this morning and we had a refrigerated truck come in and take them to a refrigerated warehouse," Aiello said. "We’ll try to just limit our losses, there will definitely be losses, but it's just a matter of trying to limit your losses."

Other businesses are experiencing losses, especially restaurants that had their dinner service interrupted by the outage Tuesday evening and have been closed all day Wednesday. A few blocks away on Boylston Street, Danny Phen runs Typhoon Asian Bistro. He says that during a full dinner service last night around 7:30 p.m. the restaurant suddenly went dark.

"We brought a bunch of candles to the tables and the guests were very happy, they wanted to pay but we couldn’t process their payments — only took cash only," Phan said. "So we lost a lot of money last night, talking about five or six grand in just about 10 minutes."

By midday Wednesday power had been restored to the theater district, Chinatown and parts of the Back Bay from the Boston Public Garden up to Clarendon Street. From Clarendon stretching down Newbury and along Boylston and Huntington Avenue businesses and homes were still without power late Wednesday afternoon.

The outage also affected parts of Northeastern University's campus, where some dorms and administrative buildings don’t have electricity.

Despite getting a generator Wednesday, Danny Phen of Typoon Asian Bistro on Boylston Street was expecting to lose more money. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Despite getting a generator Wednesday, Danny Phen of Typoon Asian Bistro on Boylston Street was expecting to lose more money. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Boston Police have a heavy presence in the area, directing traffic and keeping an eye on dark stores.

By 3 p.m. the MBTA had reopened the Prudential and Symphony Stations, but not with full power, so fares were being collected on board.

Some professional buildings and hotels brought in private generators.

Linda Hilgenbrinck, who was visiting from Texas, hopes the power is on by Thursday morning. That's when she is scheduled to be honored at a national physical education conference as the national adaptive P.E. teacher of the year. The conference was canceled Wednesday and the hotel she was staying in was evacuated Tuesday night because of the fire.

"It was a little unnerving, not necessarily how we want to start our evening in Boston," Hilgenbrinck said.

This program aired on March 14, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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