Small municipal power and light companies in Massachusetts — called “munis’’ — often shine brightest on stormy nights when high winds and heavy snow send tree branches crashing down on overhead electrical wires. During the run of bad storms in recent years, customers of NStar, National Grid, and other investor-owned utilities sat in the dark while muni customers watched TV and made hot chocolate in the microwave.
The state’s 41 munis love to get under the skin of big power companies by emphasizing the local knowledge of their linemen and the ability of managers to concentrate on customers absent the gaze of outside shareholders. There’s something to it. But a better answer might be found simply by looking up.