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ABOUT TOWN: National Grid Talks Power Outages in Stoughton (And More…)

Welcome to "About Town with Mark Snyder," a column that will keep you up to the minute with what's what, who's who and what's going on around town. If you see or hear something we could use here, let us know by sending an e-mail to pmpco@aol.com.

NATIONAL GRIDLOCK SENDS US BACK TO THE STONE AGE: National Grid Spokesperson Debbie Drew told About Town after she was asked about the consecutive Saturday outages, "We try our best to give customers good service." That was her response to my question, "Should Stoughton residents plan Saturday night dates with a flashlight and a book?"

With , it was a fair question. Drew said that the root cause of was "a failed connector on a pole, which caused a fire." She said 700+ people lost power from that.

"Then, to assure the safety of firefighters trying to extinguish the blaze, we shut service to the line nearest that pole," she said. That caused another 1700+ to lose their power.

I asked how old the equipment is that keeps failing. She said she would check on it, but added, "Age isn't often the cause of these failures. The age of the connector may not be related. In some cases, older doesn't mean they are bad or need replacement. Utility equipment is built for longer wear."

Drew said she understands the frustrations of customers. "We try to keep outages to a minimum. We have a rigorous maintenance schedule which is regulated and overseen by state and federal authorities."

She also said the failure two Saturdays ago (March 31) at the substation, "was a relatively new piece of equipment." Which begs the further question, "Why did it fail? What can be done to prevent future failure? Or, should we—as one local electrician has suggested on Patch—all get backup generators at our homes?

Drew further told me later yesterday, ""I was able to speak with an official in our Operations group and while we will have to wait a couple days to see if we can get the age of that connector, I can tell you, importantly, that we inspected the power line and the equipment associated with the pole top connector failure in February and found no abnormalities with it. 

“Additionally, she continued, “the unrelated substation equipment that failed in the previous outage was a 2008 piece of equipment. In the utility world, equipment is built for longevity, but it doesn’t appear that age of the equipment was at work here. I would again like to reiterate that we rigorously maintain and inspect our equipment. We do our best to minimize service interruptions to customers; we know outages are frustrating and are an inconvenience. When a power outage does occur, we work hard to get customers back as quickly as possible." 

Inspected rigorously in February and fails in April?  As fast as possible? We all remember .  If that was "as fast as possible" then God Bless us all. We'll need it. 

I respect Ms. Drew who returned the call of this irate columnist.  But, I have no respect for the people who RUN National Grid.  I think they are looking to make their STOCKHOLDERS happy, not necessarily their customers.  Incidentally, I also have great respect for National Grid workers in the street.  They are undermanned and overworked and do a great job. 

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VOTING TODAY: , it is your CIVIL DUTY to go to your nearest polling place and cast your ballot. The future of this town is literally in your hand. 

YOU will decide who the next Chairman of the Board of Selectmen is going to be.  There are dynamics in play that make it obvious depending on who wins the election today. The power could shift, or it could stay in the same hands—and only grow stronger. 

Incumbents and are both vying for their second terms on the Board.  Former Selectmen is hoping to get back on the Board.  And, Attorney is making his first attempt at a town-wide elected position.    

Long-time School Committee member is attempting to keep his seat against a challenge from former School Committee member , who is a current member of the Finance Committee.

Howard Hansen is running unopposed for Town Moderator. Kevin Wilder is unopposed for Housing Authority, and local insurance agent Carlos Vargas is unopposed for Redevelopment Authority.

There are also races in a number of precincts for Town Meeting.  .  If you live in one of these precincts, get together with your neighbors and start a sticker campaign.  We need you!  If you are voting at the Jones School, I hope you'll cast a vote for me.  I've served two decades and I'm the current Chairman of Precinct 2. 

If you are not sure if you are a registered voter in Stoughton, or which precinct you should be voting in, please check with the Town Clerk's office at 781-341-1300 x9224. Some people have been moved to a different precinct due to the redistricting.  To view your precinct ballot, go to www.stoughton-ma.gov and click on the Town Clerk's office.  

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BELATED BIRTHDAY WISHES: to Realtor , who collects food every Thursday for the Stoughton Food Pantry; and to , lead singer of Easy Access Band, and a fitness instructor at 24/7 Family Fitness in Stoughton.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY: To Terry Jurgilewicz Carlson, a Stoughton native, who is now a Medical Assistant that lives in Nashua, NH.  And to Matt Phipps, an old radio friend, who can be heard on 92.5 FM "The River", weekdays from 3-7 p.m. 

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