NStar info center opens after power outages

NStar has opened an information center at the Boston Public Library to provide information to customers affected by last week’s Back Bay power outages, and by 5 p.m. fewer than a dozen people had arrived.

One of those who came to discuss issues related to the outage was Franco Marzo, 45, the manager of Emack & Bolio’s ice cream shop on Charles Street.

He said the store lost a sizable sum, though less than $12,000, during the outage and was none too pleased about the company’s insistence that it would not reimburse businesses for lost inventory, especially since area businesses help the utility’s bottom line.


“We are a big city for them,” Marzo said of NStar, adding that his store had to discard a lot of ice cream and frozen foods. “We give them good business.”

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Kifle Alemu, 35, of Roxbury, said he lost two days of wages as a parking lot attendant at Niketown on Newbury Street. He wanted to speak with utility representatives but then decided to come back later when he saw that they were aiding other customers.

NStar has said it will not reimburse workers for lost wages.

“It is tough,” said Alemu, who figures he lost about $160 in wages. “I can’t afford” not to work.

Lori Berardino, 48, said she lost about $175 worth of food in her refrigerator in her studio apartment on Blackwood Street, and that she had to stay in a shelter for veterans one night last week. She said she wanted to share her concerns with representatives, including the slow pace of power restoration for residents in her building.


Company representatives told her they would look into her claim, she said, but she isn’t expecting much.

She said residents like her saw “a very distinct visual between the haves and have nots” during the restoration process.

Back Bay continues to recover from power outages that began last Tuesday night and continued through Saturday morning, when NStar cut off power for a little over an hour to transfer buildings from a temporary to permanent power connection. Service is now fully restored, according to the company.

The center will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, NStar spokeswoman Caroline Pretyman said.

“We’ll have representatives from claims, customer service, and corporate relations available to provide information to customers about the progress and status of our restoration work and to answer their questions,” she said in an e-mail. “There will be claims forms available and we’ll be logging customer inquiries and concerns that need follow up.”


Pretyman said residents can also file claims on the company’s website.

She said NStar would cover towing, property damage incurred during restoration, and smoke or fire damage for vehicles at the scene of the fire. Lost food and lost business revenue are not covered, Pretyman said.

Colin A. Young can be reached at