Mutter seeking historical breakdown of power outages

Mutter seeking historical breakdown of power outages

CUMBERLAND – Mayor Jeff Mutter has asked National Grid for an in-depth breakdown on the past two years’ worth of power outages in Cumberland, saying he wants to get a better handle on whether the situation has been as bad as it’s seemed.

Resident Pat Ford told the Town Council last week that the volume of outages in Cumberland lately is simply not acceptable, urging members to work with the mayor to come to an agreement with utility companies for better outcomes.

He said that not only are outages inconvenient, but during COVID-19, where people with no local family might have nowhere to go, and winter potentially threatening the health and physical integrity of someone’s home in an outage, it’s way more dangerous.

Ford said he was surprised at the level of anger expressed by residents on his recent Facebook post about outages, saying they were everything from annoyed and concerned to openly hostile. It’s time to gain a level of transparency on the situation, he said, determining National Grid’s culpability by figuring out what is causing outages. It’s time to apply the pressure, he said, urging the council to invite National Grid to discuss the situation at their next meeting.

Mutter said he had conversations with Ford after recent power outages, saying Ford told him there was a time from 2015 to 2018 where there were 15 outages just in his area of Cumberland, on Grant Lane and Esek Hopkins Lane. Mutter said he learned that after some tree cutting, instances were dramatically reduced.

One of the more recent outages Ford mentioned was when surprisingly strong winds felled trees all over town on Oct. 7, including destroying cars near Town Hall and knocking out power everywhere. The other was during last week’s wind and rain storm. Mutter said while he understands where Ford is coming from and that he has a point, he didn’t agree that the Oct. 7 situation could be blamed on anyone.

Councilor Scott Schmitt, who indicated interest in speaking further with Ford, said this week he generally agrees that there seem to be more power outages, though he said that assessment is more anecdotal than scientific.

“I do agree that with the virus and our aging population, power outages, especially in cold weather months, are more dangerous,” he said.

Schmitt noted Mutter’s asking National Grid for a historical breakdown and a plan on how to prevent outages.

“About two summers ago, National Grid did embark on a robust tree trimming program that was met with some criticism because they trimmed only the portion of the tree above the power lines and left the bottom part of the tree intact, which did look very much out of place in many instances,” Schmitt said.

“I will work with Jeff in any way I can to try to minimize these outages in the future.”

Comments

Thank God you are looking into this. The amount of outages recently is quite unacceptable. It seems that we just need a rainstorm to start sparking outages. We are all very lucky that it has not been too cold yet when these have happened, but now that winter is upon us, it is becoming urgent to find out why this is happening so often.

Mayor Mutter is right to look into this and should be commended. While he is at it, he should look into the pervasive water issues (quality, billing, etc.) in town. He may want to explain why his Water Department closes at 3PM every day. It seems strange that a public facing department would close at 3PM.

We had about 5-7 years of winter moth and gypsy moth caterpillar infestations which killed or weakened a good percentage of our trees especially oaks and maples.

The town did not spray the trees, most homeowners did not spray either so what we have now is a lot of weakened trees. A small investment in spraying trees along public roadways would have paid big dividends in preventing power outages not to mention it would have preserved some of our beautiful treed neighborhoods.

We just moved here since last October...a little more than a year...surprised with lack of snow last winter we already have lost power 4 times...taken off guard to lose it in rain storms...now have to work around our food shopping if storm is in forcast.

Not as much snow or rain but we have has unusual high winds plus trees are dry because of the drought.