The Failing Power Grid in South Boston

August 09, 2022

Last night I got to enjoy two power outages in the middle of the night. This is after a more prolonged outage a few weeks ago. After that outage I sent the following e-mail to Councilor Ed Flynn:

Dear Councilor Flynn:

I am writing to reach out about the power outages in City Point over the past 48 hours. As a City Point resident it was not fun to return home from a weekend trip to no air conditioning and for my groceries to spoil in the fridge. However, I was glad to see your posts and that Eversource reacted so quickly (along with the Boston Fire Department) to handle the situation as it developed. I appreciated your suggestion of holding a hearing to better understand the situation, and wanted to suggest the following questions and actions for our utility providers in Southie.

Eversource: Should commit to publicly sharing (online) the age, condition, and capacity of the infrastructure in South Boston. The above information should be contextualized with projected demand v. capacity over the next ten years. The above information should be contextualized with typical lifespan information for the relevant equipment. For equipment that cannot meet projected demand or is past it’s end of life, Eversource should share its plans to upgrade or replace the equipment.

Communication Providers (Comcast, Verizon, T-Mobile, at&t): Should share what equipment has backup capacity to run in the event of power loss. Should be asked to commit to making sure that 5G wireless capacity is available on battery or generator backup through at least a 24 hour power loss event.

I believe the above information to be vital to understanding whether Southie will be equipped to handle climate change and heat waves going forward, and also demonstrate whether the utilities are committed to helping us in this regard.

Finally as a resident concerned about climate change, I was bummed to hear the stories of folks sleeping in idling cars as a last resort and reprieve from the heat. Vehicle greenhouse gas emissions are not great for the environment, and gas prices are sky high these days. We live in a neighborhood close to a whole lot of hotels, and it would surprise me if there were not at least a few empty rooms the other evening. It would be great if we could figure out a way to facilitate deeply discounted room rates for excess hotel inventory when these sorts of events occur to discourage folks from keeping their automobiles running like that.


Matthew Zagaja

I am still waiting for a response.

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This work by Matt Zagaja is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.