National Grid Under Fire For Irene, Snowstorm Outages

By Cristina Quinn

Nov. 9, 2011

When trees went down during Hurricane Irene, they caused power outages that lasted for days in some areas. Here, a tree is seen laying across Beacon Street in Boston, fallen by the storm. (AP)

BOSTON — The state Department of Public Utilities is opening a new investigation into National Grid's response to the late-October snowstorm that left hundreds of thousands without power. Meanwhile, residents and area officials are still expressing their frustation at the utility's response to Hurricane Irene.

On Tuesday, a small crowd, including state and local elected officials and fire chiefs,gathered for a public hearing in Brockton as part of the latter investigation.

Customers complained of a lack of communication with local public safety departments. Patricia Vinchesi, the town administrator of Scituate, lambasted National Grid for giving out what she called dishonest information.

“If communities had been given candid information as to when power would be restored, all communities could have adjusted their efforts more efficiently. But what happened was that local personnel and officials bore the burden of anxious, angry and worried residents, who day after day could not get an answer to when will my power be restored,” Vinchesi said.

Both Hurricane Irene and the snowstorm left hundreds of thousands of customers without power -- some for over a week.

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