METHUEN, Mass. — From 9 p.m. on Tuesday to about 7 a.m. on Wednesday, dozens of Methuen residents will be in the dark as National Grid plans to interrupt electrical service for ‘planned maintenance’.
According to a statement sent to Boston 25 News by a spokesperson for the utility company, an electric pole on 22 Pelham Street is in deteriorating condition and needs to be replaced urgently. The pole in question happens to be a feeder getaway, meaning it receives power from the substation in order to provide electricity to a significant part of the area.
“It’s something that I would like better in the spring, but we don’t have any choice,” said Denise Mathieu, a neighbor. “I do have my sleeping bag and I do have blankets, I can put on it and lots of candles.”
The statement says, in part, that they chose to do the repair now in efforts “to minimize potential future disruption to our customers," citing how, should something happen to the pole, it would result in “a much more significant, unplanned outage.”
Crews have decided to move forward with the repair since temperatures overnight will not fall below freezing.
Mathieu is one of dozens of people living in an affordable housing complex for the elderly on Mystic Street, one of the streets that had its power cut off.
“I think it’s sad because some old people say they are always cold,” said Mathieu. “Because if we don’t have any heat if it doesn’t come on tomorrow morning we have to go somewhere.”
About 300 residents on ten streets in the city will have to either arrange to spend the night with friends and family or at the emergency shelter set up by city officials. The shelter has been set up at Timony Grammar School on 45 Pleasant View Street and will be open as of 8 p.m. Tuesday night.
Mayor Neil Perry, however, expressed his discontent over National Grid’s decision to conduct the repairs at this time of the year. According to him, the city was never formally informed of this outage.
“I am deeply disappointed with National Grid’s decision to interrupt power at this time of the year with no advance notice to the City,” Perry said. “While I totally appreciate their need to make repairs, my priority is the comfort and safety of the people of our community."
Perry said he was frustrated the city was given little notice about the planned outage, but hopes they can make sure residents are safe and warm at the emergency shelter.
“There will be cots brought in by the Red Cross, now the only problem with that is there’s a cost to the city that we’re going to have to bear, we really feel like National Grid should be bearing the cost of that because you’re displacing residents in the middle of the winter,” said Perry.
Mayor Perry says the city is working with multiple city departments "to ensure that everyone has a safe and secure option for this evening."
“I’m very grateful to Superintendent Brandi Kwong and her team for their rapid response to our call for an Emergency Shelter, Perry said. 'We’re working with everyone from our Police Department to the Senior Center to the Methuen Housing Authority to ensure that we respond quickly and efficiently to this event.”
Citing the lack of communication and planning with the city for this planned repair, Perry intends to have a further discussion with National Grid to prevent something like this from happening again in the future.
“Winter seems like the most inappropriate time for ‘planned maintenance,’” Perry said.
According to the Mayor's Office, the streets affected by this planned outage will include:
2-17 Barker Street
7-13 Carleton Court
3-37 Orchard Street
1-12 Richardson Court
1-33 Bentley Circle
2-18 Inglewood Terrace
1-34 Peaslee Terrace
5-32 Brown Court
2-24 Mystic Street
1-138 Pelham Street