Manhole Explosion Knocks Out Power Again In Back Bay

BOSTON (CBS) — Crews were still working to restore power to sections of the city Thursday, two days after a smoky electrical transformer fire in the Back Bay. NStar now says a connector cable filled with oil failed in the substation causing the fire.

Boston Mayor Tom Menino is demanding that NStar pay for the blackout and is calling for an investigation into why it happened.

“This is a very unusual event,” said NStar CEO Tom May. “In my 35 year history of this company there has never been a failure of one of these connectors.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

Photos: Back Bay Blackout

NStar says that by 3 p.m. Thursday, most customers had their power restored. Outages reached a peak of 21,000 Tuesday night.

Shortly after the power was restored, the sudden surge of electricity caused an explosion underground on Huntington Avenue. Three manhole covers exploded and there was fire coming from one and smoke from the two others.

That explosion on Huntington Ave knocked out power to 1,500 0customers, who just had their power restored. The street was closed while crews responded to the fire.

WBZ-TV’s Kathy Curran reports

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard Sullivan has instructed the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities to require NStar to submit a full report of the incident and analysis to ensure this type of event does not happen again.

Many traffic signals are now working at intersections around the Back Bay, but there are still some scattered outages.

The Mass. Turnpike through the Prudential Tunnel was open on Thursday, but officials said that tunnel will be closed in both directions overnight Sunday into Monday (12 a.m. – 5 a.m.) so NStar crews can restore permanent power to the tunnel, which is currently being ruin by a generator.

“As part of NStar’s process of restoring power in the Prudential Tunnel on the Massachusetts Turnpike, work crews must disconnect the generator currently providing power to the lights and ventilation system, then re-splice the wires to the power grid,” State police said in a statement on Thursday.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

The Berklee College of Music, the Boston Conservatory of Music, and the N.E. Conservatory of Music remained closed Thursday because of power outages.


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