Despite Outage Issues, National Grid President Awarded For “Excellence”

By Lauren Leamanczyk, WBZ-TV

FOXBORO (CBS) – Foxboro residents are fumed in the wake of Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm. Many went without power for days, even a week.

“I was very upset about it,” said Mary Tenza. “We’re sitting here without power. We’re going to be upset.”

They placed the blame squarely on National Grid and its president Marcy Reed.

“The weather is up and down like crazy here. They need to know how to prepare for that or they need to go work in a different state,” said Carrie De Nisi.

WBZ-TV’s Lauren Leamancyzk reports.

That’s why some were surprised to learn the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce gave Reed an award for management.

“I don’t think the award is deserved at all. To me it’s typical. It’s probably more political than people know,” Tenza said.

The chairman of the Foxboro Town Board told WBZ-TV he doesn’t know what the criteria for this award was, but he’s been disappointed in the leadership National Grid has shown.

The Chamber didn’t return our calls. A news release said the awards were going to women who “exemplify excellence in their respective fields as well as a strong commitment to the region’s civic community.”

Reed came under fire for taking a vacation during Irene and saying the outages were out of their control. Days after Irene, Reed argued that criticism was unfair.

“During the storm, the president doesn’t handle outages nor does she call the shots,” she explained.

A National Grid spokeswoman wouldn’t comment on the award. She says Reed’s been working hard to address customers’ concerns and to improve the company’s performance. At least one power outage survivor believes them.

“They did the best they could,” said Francesca DeNisi. She went five days with no power, but is giving Reed the benefit of the doubt.

More from Lauren Leamanczyk
  • jinxie

    A few inches in Worcester during Halloween left my mother, who is on oxygen, without power for over 5 days. She has the individual tanks but they only provide a few hrs worth supply. This added to the freezing temps was a nightmare for her. Underground service obviously didnt do any good.”Award for Excellend” I would beg to differ.

    • Tssal

      Jinxie. I am really sorry your mom is on oxygen. It would be a good idea perhaps to have a plan B knowing that power outages occur – especially when we were warned so far ahead of the likely chance of power being disrupted with a freak storm while still having an unusual amount of leaves left on the trees

    • YaKnow

      My husband also was without oxygen for 5 days. Their response to me was “take him to the hospital” my response to them was ” will National Grid pick up the tab?”…there was no answer. There is an old saying F up move up. Award for Excellence my A**. When she was interviewed on TV after the October storm she had a major attitude problem. Me thinks she needs an adjustment.

    • gramps

      In her pursuit of the bottom line ‘SHE’ & other CEO’s B/4 her, approved of & perused lower maintenance staffing levels, through attrition over the decades.

      Those reductions caused 86 year old ‘Lady’ to freeze to death on day ‘SEVEN’!…..NSTAR S/BE indicted for ‘Involuntary Manslaughter’ B/4 the fact.

      Instead, She get’s an ‘atta-girl’!


  • emom

    I cant believe they awarded her with that award,, I mean she did nothing but TRY, she was not the one getting the job done, it was more like the ones that came from out of the state and country. AGAIN someone bailing out those that cant seem to do the job right. How many times has nation Grid and other utility companies ask to raise our rates, and then we hear of a bonus and a pay raise of some sort for some executive in these places,
    AWEARD for WHAT.. more like an award for bumbling . And they speak of how the customers should have prepared for such outages. REALLY.. like so many could afford the generators, that they could find a shelter that was not overwhelmed, Just wait its only going to get worse. With winter coming and the fact that this will indeed happen more than once during the season I see a huge problem.. Lack of being prepared right, I think the utility companies dropped the ball and were totally unprepared for any problems, I bet they felt nothing would happen. You never see any utility trucks replacing any wires not until they have come down. we see poles doubles triples and even quadrupled tied with WIRE , or on a BLOCK just hanging there,,,, and these poles stay there on not for only a few months more like years 5, 6 even 10 years.. and we hear they are overwhelmed.
    REALLY and how is that possible when none of the trucks are out doing anything…. Yup she has done a great job alright in taking from the customers and giving us nothing in return . Only grief and disappointments,

  • Mark Scanlon

    It doesn’t take much to get an award these days…Time Magazines “Person of the Year 2011” lit himself on fire…

    • petem

      Really Mark? Do you know the first thing about the person in Tunisia you’re referring to? How dare you! Putting this selfish insignificant person (Reed) in the same sentence as Mohamed Bouazizi is disgrace. His actions although due in part to the same ‘top down, all the riches flow to the top’ mentality that CEO’s like Reed exemplify, are part of a real movement. The kind of movement Ms. Reed is more akin to can be found in your toilet…

  • DoverDavid

    Why should she over any big CEO be any different. You get rewarded now for your preformance but the amount of money you bring in. Do a poor job at a big company and you get all kinds of money and perks, it’s the American way.

  • blackbear1

    This is truly an insult to the Natl Grid customers left in the dark and cold for days. Also it was her very cavalier, nonempatheic attitude towards customers. She was inexplicably the beneficiary of those who gave her the benefit of the doubt and went “soft”. Snowstorms, freakish or otherwise, are not a new invention. Unexplained, poor response and preparation appear to be the latest trend in management!!

  • Patricia

    Are you going to follow up on this and find out what the criteria was for this award??????????? I believe THAT would be good journalism

  • ronc

    Is this the same person willing to overpay for Cape Wind’s very overpriced wind energy and passing on the extra expense to the consumer. Looks political to me.
    What a joke. Should be NSTAR exec.for not bending to political pressure and resisting a commitment to Cape Wind. Thank you NSTAR!

  • Mary Penza

    As one of the women interviewed for this report, I would like to add the following:
    Why, after 12 years of being on the disability rate at National Grid (I am 100% disabled Veteran), they suddenly decided to change the guidelines and declined to give me this rate any longer. National Grid’s Marcy Reed needs to get real and look around her at what people are saying about her and National Grid.

    • carrie denisi

      That is awful…I was interviewed too, (Carrie Denisi)…They should NOT be able to raise your rates all of the sudden….ridiculous!

    • Mary Penza

      Excellence????? I think we need a new definition of “Excellence”. To me, Excellence is a word given to soldiers coming home from the war, right along with honor. National Grid has no claim to this word, especially when Marcy Reed doesn’t have a clue what is going on with her company or her customers.

  • sloopjohnB2

    No surprise here. She’s on the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Paul Guzzi is a hacks hack. He is an empty suit who makes over $400,000 per year. She should have been fired for her poor handling of the storm cleanup. She is a full fledged member of the “boys club”.

    • Mary Penza

      Thanks for pointing that out. It’s like I stated in the interview: It’s more politically motivated than people realize”.
      Mary Penza

  • Tssal

    Whether she deserves it I have no idea. I know many in the nat grid area during Irene who received constant updates via email or phone and were very pleased. I am still amazed that people were so unprepared for a storm that we all had days of warning to prepare for. It electricity! There were a hundred options that were far better than complaining.

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