Keating: NStar Needs to do a Better Job [VIDEO]

Congressman Bill Keating says NStar needs to do a better job when it comes to providing customers with restoration times.


Congressman Keating toured the shelter at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School Monday with Governor Deval Patrick and other Cape lawmakers.

During a press briefing after the tour, Keating said it’s vital for customers to know when their power will be restored.

“The frustration, which I share about NStar, is the level of public information that they are sharing with the public. People worried if their pipes are freezing would like to know if the service is estimated two or three days. That would help make a decision for them about sealing off the water,” Keating said.

Keating said he spoke with children of elderly parents who were having difficulty convincing them to move to a shelter. Keating said if those individuals knew they would not be getting power restored for multiple days it may help them make the critical decision to leave home.

“They have to do a better job, NSTAR, in my opinion of communicating to the public,” Keating said.

What do you think? Should NStar provide more detailed estimates of restoration times to customers?

larry watson February 12, 2013 at 12:12 PM
He is absolutely, Nstar's customer service brings back memories of Hurricane Bob. The customer service people are clueless as to what is taking palce in the field all they can say is Thursday 11:30pm 7 days after the storm. We had a foot of snow and high winds but come on 7 days, Nstar was not prepared and they can say all they want about crews lining the streets on Sunday I was in Marston Mills, Osterville, Centerville and west main in Haynnis and not one crew was out working. Again every storm Nstar has an excuse...Did they even pay the 4 million dollar fine for the last storm, if not why bother doing better on the next one. Something needs to be done I am talking about a town like Osterville, the homes are not on the water. The crews will slap the wire back quickly and the next storm same issues. The worst thing is the lack of communication to the customer and they should be held accountable
karen peterson February 12, 2013 at 12:23 PM
Keating is right. What is wrong with the NSTAR power system on the Cape and in Marshfield and other communities if in 2013 we can have power out for 7 days with 12 inches of snow and high winds, sure power goes out a day or two buyt 7 days. Time for the Governor and the DPU not to let this pass as they are doing a good job. The customer service reps have not one bit of knowledge of what is going on in the service area. To give some global estimate in the cold of winter with an elderly population on the Cape for 7 days to restore power is not right. The Governbor has to step up here May is gone new people in and they should not get away with this type oif service. 7 days for Barnstable some of the homes without power are inland, we are not tlaking areas with home right on the ocean. Keating please don't let this die out the minute power comes back
Doug February 12, 2013 at 04:21 PM
Good for him. At least he's willing to say what many of us are saying or at least thinking. I appreciate the work of the linemen and women and all the tree and electric crews coming in from elsewhere in tough conditions, but the repair time estimates are just insultingly vague and now power is out again for us (after having it for about 24 hours) with different stories being given to different neighbors when they've called and we've compared notes. If you're going to give crappy estimates, at least be consistent. At least a real person answered the phone. Two at home sick and now they're without power again. Feel worse for the people who have been out since Friday with still no answers and no good idea when they'll get it back except the "eventually" estimates we have currently. Super frustrating.
Timothy Maloney February 12, 2013 at 08:18 PM
Hello All, I've got a Licensed Lodging House here in Hyannis. And I've got an empty Rental Unit that I'd be willing to let out for the next feew nights to a Family in need of up to Five Total, (Two Adults & three Children) for nothing more than a Cleaning Fee after their able to return to their Home once Power has been restored. My Inn is Safe, Clean and Warm just Two Blocks from Main Street in Hyannis. If you know of a Family in Need, please let them contact me and I'll be happy to take them in today.!. My name is Tim.., Cell: (508) 221~1353 Best of Luck to Everyone during these trying times..
Tim from the Bog February 12, 2013 at 09:46 PM
Nothing more than a Congressman grandstanding. There are utility crews here from all over the place. I've seen plates as far away as Wisc.. What does he expect. Some of these crews are working miles in the woods. Two days ago, most people couldn't even get out of their own front yards, never mind up a sixty foot high power line in the wind driven rain. These linemen aren't spending a whole lot of time calling into the main office to let them know they've made it another 100 feet down the powerline cut.
nancy shadyac February 12, 2013 at 09:56 PM
Its difficult to pinpoint because customer service may be situated in Tennessee somewhere and only say what they are told. I don't see how they can pinpoint a time if you have one wire down in your neighborhood and a blown transformer a few blocks down - how the heck are they going to know that? They can only approximate restoration time as they are assessing and fixing at the same time. Personally I think the crews did an outstanding job considering where they came from and what they faced. It was a HUGE improvement over Hurricane Bob and the other big snowstorm in 2003. I ran into a crew from Ohio who shoveled a walkway down the entire long driveway for me while the others were cutting tree limbs that were pulling on the wires. Now THAT is customer service!
Tim from the Bog February 12, 2013 at 10:30 PM
I work outside myself. These guys have done an outstanding job under very difficult conditions.
Bill Carson February 12, 2013 at 11:16 PM
The public should be told that most parts of Massachusetts especially small towns have single phase bare wire on the tops of electric poles. In other words there is only one single high voltage wire at the top of the pole with no insulation. All along Kings Highway from Sandwich to Dennis you have three bare wires with no insulation . Crews from out of state sometimes will not work on these antiquated lines unless they have NSTAR techinicians with them. The Hendrix Aerial Cable & Systems is the more modern electric system in the United States Much of the fault is the State of Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities for not enforcing the new regulations . For example no where in Massachusetts should there be a single phase high voltage line attached at the top of a pole . They should have replaced 10 years ago . The politicians need to go after the Mass Dept of PublicUtilities and find out why they have not forced to Electric Companies to upgrade the electric lines !
Tim from the Bog February 12, 2013 at 11:28 PM
Sounds like you know the tech.. Maybe you could contact your local rep..
Bill Carson February 13, 2013 at 12:41 AM
I have contacted my local rep for years and written Letters to the Editor . The state representaives won't pay attention . The bottom line is you'll find the Hendrix Electric Aerial Cable System in commercial zones (business) .You will not find the H type electric system in residetial areas . The H system suspends insulated electric cables in a H bracket . The top of the H is held up by a very strong 10 M strand , The other corners of the H bracket hold the three insulated wires .
Bob`Lister February 13, 2013 at 12:48 AM
I agree with the comment about a politician grandstanding. They are gonna say what people want to hear. Truth is the repair crews don't know what needs to be done at each repair site till they get there ,so how is anyone to know how long it will take. I had a crew out in front of my house last night from Georgia. They couldn't even stand on the street due to wet ice on the rd. I would like to see Mr. Keating up in a bucket some night when it is cold and blowing. Thanks N-Star for getting my power back in three days. BTW if you let water run slowly your pipes will not freeze.
Bill Carson February 13, 2013 at 01:07 AM
Congressman Bill Keating needs to go to Beacon Hill and ask why the electric system in Massachusetts is so far out of date . It's so old late 1940s to 1950s the electric companies from other states don't know how to work on the system. The fault is the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. Put the blame on the state officials who failed to make the electric companies upgrade their systems . Why has the electric company been allowed to maintain a system from the 1940s while the rest of the country has new electric systems -
ginny larson February 13, 2013 at 02:30 AM
We pay very high rates for service, NSTAR customer communications is unacceptable.I never would ask an exact time power may be back as the women mentioned above but tell me within a day or two, if I I need to shut the water off before pipes freeze. Everytime time there is a storm the system goes down. The antiquated equipment is a problem. A lack of planning. Come on folks we are in 2013 and anyone who thinks this utility in the middle of winter is doing a good job either works there or is out of touch. 7 Days no power, They were fined 4 million for lack of communication in irene and Keating yes he is a politician but unlike Bob Lister, Tim from Bog, Keating was representingpeople compalining in his district, right to the governor. And nancy, you think that Nstar really improved over hurricane bob, bob was in 1991 and we are 20 years later...Our utility bills have quadrupled, 0ver 20 years later 7 days no power.the problem is how NSTAR plans for these events and follows through...the dismal communication to customers and in future days you will hear from fire departments like I did that Nstar does not listen to anyone. How about the woman in Centerville that called about a live line down on her property, she called nstar, they said they would be right out, never showed, she callled back 3 other times and finally called the fire dept to come out, they arrived and said you will have to call nstar because they will not do what we ask....this is a live wire
Bill Carson February 13, 2013 at 02:57 AM
Congressman Keating is shifting the attention of the failure of the State of Massachusetts to upgrade the electric system . They are going to build 130 wind turbines at 10 million each to put the power into a 1940s electric system on Cape Cod? This is what happens when state politicians get involved with private companies . Don't blame NSTAR or the workers .This boils down to our state representatives not pushing the State Department of Public Utilities to upgrade the electric grid ! Attorney General Martha Coakley should hold hearings with everybody in the same room including the public . The state is the bad guy in this situation !
Mel Cross February 13, 2013 at 12:49 PM
Keating is a boob much like Kerry......Stand around and act like he is doing something...but getting nothing done. Pure Grandstaning, and looking for a Photo Opp. I have been out helping folks get generators running and have lent mine out to an elderly couple, and trying to help them out, All i see is Utility trucks moving from site to site there must be over a 100 in Falmouth alone, most seem to be from PA. These guys are out there and working hard, I think the response for additional resources is amazing, we are crawling with help....... It takes time get it all running, quit whining.................
Doug February 13, 2013 at 02:07 PM
NSTAR *is* the GRID. They don't make power. In the age of deregulation, there are generating companies (Covanta, Mirant, etc.) and there are "pipes and wires" companies. NSTAR is the latter and they should be spending money to upgrade their piece of the puzzle. When the state "makes them" do it and they then find a way to pass those cost on to the ratepayers, will that be the state's fault, too? Here's a newflash: Companies like to make money and the more they can charge with the least amount spent to make the "product", the better.
Bill Carson February 13, 2013 at 02:31 PM
The point here is the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities should have been on the electric companies to upgrade the current system built back in the late 1940s. The out of state workers in many cases are unaware of how the current multi neutral ground system works in Massachusetts as other states have long ago gone with more updated systems . Doug , You have to agree that there should no longer be any bare high voltage lines over 7200 volts ? All high voltage lines should have heavy insulation. I blame the State Department of Public Utilities . The politicians always blames the electric company ! We need hearings at the state level . Let's stop placing blame on the local electric companies . http://static.schneider-electric.us/assets/consultingengineer/appguidedocs/section6_0307.pdf
Doug February 13, 2013 at 03:15 PM
So it's the state's fault that the companies who distribute the power don't spend money to keep up the system which allows them to *make* the money by distributing that power? We pay more in "distribution" fees than we do for the actual electricity itself. I'm sorry, but that's wrong given the state of the grid. Can't seem to find a good analogy, but it seems to me that's like blaming the mechanic when the car that you never bring in for maintenance is suddenly dead by the roadside. There's blame to go around, but when the lines start falling because they can't/don't/won't maintain the lines or the trees wrapped around them, it's their fault. Why call in crews from out of state who won't work on the lines because of our antiquated systems? The whole process is nonsensical. Northeast Utilities had revenue of nearly a $1M *per employee* last year. Guessing a lineman doesn't make that. Where's it all going?
Bill Carson February 13, 2013 at 04:31 PM
In the 1950's we had the greatest state infrastructure that anyone in the world has ever seen and we have neglected it and have allowed it to badly deteriorate. Massachusetts spending on electric infrastructure is way down. The vast majority of our politicians are completely incompetent. This electric outage demonstrates just how incompetent our government really is ! Massachusetts has had poor leadership from the top down. The state government does not have the political courage to invest in electric power infrastructure. Your watching a local politician who says what the voters want to hear, to get their votes--politicians pander to voters. The electric infrastructure needs to be upgraded ! Now can they afford to upgrade it ?


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