Boston City Council Seeks Answers On NStar Outages

The Boston City Council is seeking answers from the utility NStar for what caused two recent blackouts stemming from a Back Bay substation.

In an interview with our Newscast unit before Friday's hearing, Council President Stephen Murphy called for some independent oversight of Boston's only electricity provider.

"Even though they're regulated by the Department of Telecommunications and Energy, they're really almost an unregulated utility because nobody independent is inspecting or verifying their claims," he said.

At the hearing, the Boston Globe reports that Murphy called for outside inspections of substations. NStar officials reportedly balked at the idea.

NStar, which inspects its own equipment, has said the two recent outages were the result of "highly unusual circumstances." NStar has also said that it's working to correct the problem at the troubled facility in Boston's Back Bay.

In March, a smoky transformer fire caused a widespread blackout that left more than 20,000 customers in the dark. Then, earlier this month, a problem at the same substation resulted in a Back Bay outage that lasted nearly an hour.

Additionally, as Universal Hub reported last week:

Councilor Charles Yancey ... said he was particularly struck by NStar CEO Thomas May's "dismissive" tone in comments about efforts by Mayor [Thomas] Menino to get the company to compensate residents and businesses for blackout losses.

This program aired on May 18, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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Benjamin Swasey Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.



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