National Grid President: Some Won’t Have Power Until Thursday

BOSTON (CBS) – The local president of National Grid said her company is doing all it can to restore power following the weekend snowstorm, but some customers will still be without electricity for days.

421,000 National Grid customers lost power at the peak of the storm Saturday evening.

That has been cut to about half by Tuesday.

“We’ll see large numbers of customers coming back today and tomorrow and there will be some customers out into Thursday,” Marcy Reed, the President of National Grid in Massachusetts told WBZ-TV.

Reed also defended her company’s response to the storm.

“We started planning when the forecast turned to snow last week. We got crews in from other states. They’re on the ground and our crews are working as hard as they can. This is tough going,” she said.

“To have heavy, heavy snow on limbs that already still have the leaves on them, what we’re seeing is the massive tree devastation is really crippling our infrastructure.”

So what about customers who say that National Grid’s planning before the storm and response afterwards just wasn’t good enough?

“Well, unfortunately when I learn how to control the weather, I will start doing that. Until then, what we need to do is keep up the maintenance on our lines, keep the aggressive tree-trimming that we do in all of the communities we serve,” she said.

“It comes down to what happens in the weather, in the devastation with the trees. After that, it’s our job to pick it all up.”

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“We don’t expect her to control the weather. I think that’s really not the issue,” Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown told WBZ-TV Tuesday afternoon.

“The issue is what have you done preparing for this upcoming winter season?”

Reed said National Grid spends $23 million a year investing in “vegetation management” to trim trees near power lines in the region.

  • K

    I commend David Wade for asking the tough questions this morning – Unfortunately Ms. Reed has quite a talent for avoiding the answers – If her goal was to show some compassion and give hope to the thousands of people still in the dark, she FAILED. Her attitude , specifically the “When I learn to control the weather…” comment, is a disgrace. National Grid not only needs to take a hard look at their procedures, they should also take a look at their President. The one question that wasn’t asked, that should have been…” Does Ms. Reed have power at her house?”.

  • Jane

    I’ve never seen anyone trimming trees around power lines in my neighborhood at my current house, nor at my former residence. I watched in anticipation during every storm (and actually called national grid several times to come trim the tree) in front of the house at my last residence and in 5 years, no one ever showed up.

  • Jane

    Also, I completely agree that her comment about controlling the weather is pretty arrogant considering people are freezing in their homes. Maybe the response time is the best they can do and that’s fine, but at least have a better system of updating the public on what’s happening. The only way I’ve been able to get any sort of information has been from my town’s website. With technology being what it is today it seems like they could have some sort of way to regularly update the public. Their outage map on their website leaves a lot to be desired…

    • Jean

      Well said.

  • 350,000 Still Without Power In Mass. « CBS Boston

    […] Utility officials say it could be several days before everyone is back online. […]

  • will

    Here’s my problem. Towns that didnt have any snow or tree issues, still lost power and dont have it back. The fact is that National Grid is terrible at planning for these storms. If you were prepared and had crews in place, the outages would have lasted only a day or so. Marcy Reed comment about controling weather is pathetic, as if she is trying to pass blame. We had the most snow ever last year and I never lost power. Also, they haven’t down tree trimming in my area for 3 years. This is pathetic and whoever is there disaster planner should be fired. Deval Patrick needs to stop defending Marcy Reed.

    • foamy

      I wonder if she’s a donor to his campaign….

    • Marty

      if you lost power in a town with no snow it is most likely due to the high power transmission lines that were downed….they supply power to large areas and take a long time to fix.

  • response

    For 23 Million a year, sounds like a lot of money to me that isn’t really be spent on vegetation management.
    I would like to know what the 23 million is spent on?

  • Bill

    maybe they could use the 23 million trimming trees instead of managing vegetation.
    Am I going to be able to buy my corn, broccoli, and peas from National Grid soon

  • justsayin'

    let’s see. I’ve called nat’l grid 2 or 3 times a day since sunday morning. I have NO faith in NG. I did not see a single NG vehicle until today. I thankfully got power back today in Billerica but my mother-in-law still hasn’t gotten it 1 town over…..Ms Reed has a ship load of excuses. Every Boston news station said the storm was going to cause problems and the utility companies didn’t respond and kept saying 48 hours….yeah I believe her. I bet she never lost power during this……

  • Benny Saltzman

    Guys. If you’re in a town like Amesbury or Chelmsford/Westford right now… I feel your pain. It seems impossible that electrical service could be out for this long. The fact of the matter is, we have NEVER (and I say never being the last 100 years) had storms of the magnitude and impact on vegetation and subsequently electrical grid infrastructure that’s we’ve seen the last 5 years. I do not doubt that NG is giving us the best that they can reasonably offer in restoration efforts. Reasonably being within fiscal responsibilities of the company and the number of trained human resources at their disposal. Be patient.. oh, and buy a generator. Do expect more episodes of this nature in the coming years. With respect to Ms. Reed – she’s a public relations nightmare and a loose cannon. FIRED!!!

    • response

      I would say the ice storm in 2008 was worse. we were without power for almost two weeks getting it back the 23rd of December but it was out for Christmas for some. schools were closed for weeks.

  • Jean

    This woman ought to be fired for her ineptitude in handling this situation. Clearly she is no leader.

  • Ahmed

    Since the last storm and the outage the polls are tilted on hermitage lane Worcester (back side) we called 4 times to fix them and theNeighbors on the street told me they called too but NG never came and even looked at it.

  • tsal

    I can’t help but wonder why instead of saying NG or NSTAR or any power company should be prepared, the people saying it were not prepared and you had plenty of warning. It’s a minor inconvenience for a few days. There are shelters if you don’t want to stay home. Your power is out. It could be so much worse. It’s not a big deal.

  • blackbear1

    It is a big deal!! Used to live near Quebec border, one hr. from Montreal. It is miserable there and it snows in October. We never lost power!! This woman showed no empathy or concern for the customers. No one asked her to outguess the weather. That statement was an artful dodge. Snowstorms were not just invented. She (if she survives this PR nightmare) and Nat’l Grid needs to recommitt and come out with a new mission. Plan, manage change, upgrade!! It starts at the top.

    • Tsal

      It was a historical storm with nearly all leaves remaining on trees far later than typical for the year.   We all had warning – plenty of it.  If you do not make plans for what is predicted, then I feel you have yourself to blame.  On the scale of things, power loss for a few days is trivial.   A quote from a person who has lived through two devastating floods in VT – one in 1927 and the other this past August “The way you get through it is one day at a time….Stop worrying about the future.  Take one day and do the best you can on it, and you know there’s another day coming.   That’s been my philosophy all my life.”

      Seems a lot of people could learn from this man who has lost his home not once due to mother nature but twice and has vowed to celebrate this Thanksgiving yet again in that home. 

      This woman – regardless of whether she was rude – did not cause the problem.  The weather is what it is and if there’s a problem then it would be a good idea to be proactive and not reactive. 

      • Tsal

        There are always exceptions. Unfortunately it is the people who do not fit the rule of exceptions who complain the loudest in too many cases and take help from those who really need it

    • The Batman


      I hate to be the one to break this to you but this is NOT a big deal. It is an inconvenience. An uncomfortable one, I grant you but compare what we are going throught to what people in Turkey are going through. They are sleeping in the cold outside with no blankets and no home to return to because it was destroyed in a cataclysmic event. It’s time for Americans to stop thinking only of themselves every time there is a little bump in the road of life and thank God for all the Blessings that we have in this country because of Him. Especially when compared to what others in this world are experiencing and do not have sometimes as a result of natural disasters, the tyranny or apathy of their government and many other reasons. We have nothing to complain about by comparision.

  • blackbear1

    Batman, I don’t mind being the one to break this to you, but Nat’l Grid has been developing a pattern lately. Their local president has also been on the television hot seat for each of the last two major weather related events, again displaying indifference and lack of compassion for customers. We do have a right to expect standards and have performance expectations from public utility companies without some people defending them with far reaching philosophy, unrelated comparisons and accusations of being ungrateful for all we have. Those of us who work in Public Safety are very aware of how responds, works and has changed over the years. If you continue to cut them slack and enable them their performances, which have obviously been chronicled by many more than myself, will continue to slide. So, great philosopher, please stay on track, avoid aples and oranges and if you need go hug an uprooted tree wrapped around cable wires.

    • tsal

      blackbear – the last two storms – both of which were totally out of the ordinary? Are those the ones you are referring to? Are you suggesting the utility companies staff for the storms that occur on occasion? I don’t know about you, but I do not want my monthly rates to increase because they are overstaffed.

    • The Batman


      I agree that the NG president is a PR nightmare and I make no excuses for her. If this was a freak, out of the blue storm that took out power to a small local area then I would expect power to be restored quickly. This storm, however, affected a large portion of New England and other states. Everyone cannot be first when that large an area is affected. I don’t know if they are doing the best they can or not but I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt with something of this magnitude. And I agree with tsal that I don’t want my bill going up because they are holding excess staff waiting for a just in case. And I do not plan to “let them slide” in their response to events such as these.

      And my comparision with the people in Turkey is related to what we are going through. They had a natural disaster that affected them in a large way. We had an unexpectedly large weather event that affected us in a large way. They are cold. We are cold. The only difference is in the magnitude of the devastation that they have suffered in comparision to us.

  • Cis

    it’s not just an inconvience – it’s a financial hardship to many who are already struggling in MA. i had to throw >$200 in food, miss pay because work closed w/ no electricity (hubby unemployed since April) , spend more money on gas to find gas & to drop kids at school daily (power restored in town ctr Tues) while staying out of town with relatives, travel & cost to use laundromat. being told will have power thurs night – unlikely. not a tree crew in sight, until they cut the limbs from wires NG cannot show up and restore power. i do regret not buying a generator in 2008 – it would have paid for itself by now – if you can afford seriously consider it.

    • tsal

      Did you stock up with coolers and ice prior to the storm? It was cold out – you should have been able to save nearly all if not all food . Did you plan ahead with clothing so it was clean and plan what you could wear and did you gas up your cars? When we cannot survive for more than a few days without power it makes me seriously worry about where we are headed.

  • Norm Brown

    Thanks to the Kraft Family, for having tree work done starting early July and after Irene, along the primary power lines (which he paid for in 2002) along the old Railroad Bed in Wrentham then over to Foxboro. We got our power back on quicker this time, as the secondary feeder which powers us follows that. But tree work along similar primary lines from Rt140 from Wrentham Center to Franklin still needs to be done. The local sub-station in Wrentham Center no longer feeds locally and is totally dedicated for the back up line for Patriot Place & Gillette. Maybe it should be enlarged and once again feed locally.

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