Nor'easters taking a toll on Marion, officials unhappy with Eversource

Mar 21, 2018

As the tri-trown braces for the fourth nor’easter this month, Marion Town Administrator Paul Dawson marveled at the weather the town has faced over the past few weeks at the Tuesday night Board of Selectmen meeting.

“This has been an incredible three weeks of power outages, of downed trees, and I’ve heard many references from longtime residents saying that essentially this has been like Hurricane Bob but without the coastal flooding,” Dawson said. “It has been quite an epic journey over the last few weeks.”

Dawson mentioned that the streets were cleared as quickly as possible, but that sometimes things were delayed because trees or poles were wrapped up in power lines, and responders were left to the mercy of Eversource.

One hundred percent of the town has lost power twice this month, some residents being without electricity for days. This is something officials think needs to be addressed.

“We need to have someone come talk to us about why the hell that’s happening,” Selectman Norm Hills said. “There has to be some fundamental problem if we can lose 100 percent power twice.”

Dawson agreed, and said that Police Chief John Garcia had made it clear that he’s disappointed with Eversource’s response over the past few weeks.

“We can’t have our police and fire responders sitting for hours on end waiting on a an Eversource response on a downed line,” he said. “We need to find a way to speed up that response time.”

Marion is not the only town in the area that has had problems with Eversource, and Dawson said he plans to reach out to other municipalities.

“We’re not alone in the sense that Eversource has not responded properly – our neighboring towns have felt that too,” he said. “I’ll reach out to them. There’s strength in numbers.”

Interim Department of Public Works Superintendent Jon Henry said that the extra workload has taken a toll on the department’s vehicles, but that they’re ready to go for the next storm.

“We’re down one vehicle for good as a result of over-exertion from the storms,” he said. “It’s one of the 2.5 ton trucks with a sander attached. But we’re getting by just fine. We have some plows that need repairs, but there are really no serious issues before us other than we have to guard against failures from rust and damage.”

Hills asked if the one truck was fixable, but Henry said it was not.

“It’s gone to sander heaven,” he said. “The frame has completely rusted out.”