West Newbury

Officials, residents frustrated with power outages

In response to a request from National Grid to update some of its cables in town, at a recent selectmen’s meeting officials and residents expressed their exasperation over frequent and unexplainable power outages, and the short- and long-term effects that new infrastructure might have. Speaking to David Boucher, senior design technician for National Grid, Selectman Glenn Kemper described “years and years of frustration” related to the outages in certain areas despite a lack of wind, rain, or storms. According to Boucher, National Grid would like to install 5,000 feet of cable about 30 inches deep in the ground, encased in conduits, on portions of Crane Neck Street, Robin Road, Crescent Drive, and Hilltop Circle. Currently, Boucher said, cables are buried directly in the ground and are affected by rocks, corrosion, and the freeze-thaw cycle. Selectmen and residents had many questions, including whether the primary line to be installed would service all homes in that area; the timetable and timeframe of the work; lengths of disruption for residents and whether other lines for gas, telephone, and cable would be affected; and National Grid’s long-term goals for secondary lines in the area. Selectmen also want to ensure that the newly paved roads in the area are repaired after the installation, and asked for a direct contact for the town. The board continued the hearing to this Wednesday.