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20K Without Power In Mass.; Most Expected Back Online By Friday

By Bree Sison, WBZ-TV
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Sandy's Aftermath

BOSTON (CBS)- Utility company National Grid says the vast majority of their customers will have power restored by midnight Thursday. Hurricane Sandy knocked out close to 600,000 utility customers across the state on Monday, including 237,000 National Grid customers.

Between National Grid and NSTAR, Fewer than 20,000 people were without power Thursday.

“Crews have been working 16 to 18 hour shifts and I’m really proud of them,” the company’s Massachusetts President, Marci Reed said Thursday afternoon.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

Reed says a few small spots will need to be repaired early Friday morning but that every customer will be online before the company sends crews to aid New York and New Jersey.

National Grid was heavily criticized in 2011 for slow response during two major weather events. Reed says they’ve spent a lot of time over the last year developing better communication and repair procedures.

Governor Deval Patrick called the work by all utility companies “a step forward,” but says there is still room for improvement.

“[It’s] plain that there are some infrastructure investments that utility companies are going to have to make in areas where there are chronic or repeated issues,” Patrick said on Wednesday.

Specifically, the state’s Department of Public Utilities will press for upgrades to the Union Loop located in Foxborough.

Reed says National Grid spends $500 million on infrastructure every year, noting that power companies across the country are trying to keep up with customers’ evolving expectations.

“We’re happy to make the changes suggested by the state,” said Reed.

Among the improvements National Grid is working on is a better automation on their grids and more redundancy in the lines.

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