National Grid target of public safety committee’s criticism

National Grid has come in for some strong criticism from the local public safety committee for its backlog of uncompleted street light repairs and a lack of attention to the “double pole” dilemma that involves some 70 sites in the city.

Councillor Wayne Matewsky told Dan Cameron of National Grid at the most recent committee session that he’s “disappointed and discouraged” by the utility company’s repair and maintenance record in Everett. “Street lights are out all over the city and they have been for some time,” said the Ward One councillor, who charged that the city is “disrespected” by National Grid.

Ald. Michael Marchese agreed with Matewsky, asserting that “some local streets have been waiting for street light repairs for five, six months.” On one block alone, claimed Marchese, 20 lights are burnt out.

“That’s totally unacceptable,” said the Ward Three alderman, who maintained that National Grid has been “neglecting” Everett.

Under questioning by Marchese, Cameron admitted that the city’s payments to National Grid are not only for the delivery of electricity, but also for service and maintenance. That caused Ald. Marchese to reason that the city, in essence, has been overpaying for its burnt out street lights. “Unless National Grid’s service gets better, I’ll vote against all of its petitions in the future,” the veteran city legislator told Cameron.

The utility representative said efforts have been made to respond as soon as possible to reports of lights being out of commission. Recent storms, including the hurricane, obviously set things back, said Cameron. He vowed that he will check out the current list of local burnt-out street lights and take action to get them fixed.

As for the “double pole” issue, Cameron said only a small percentage of Everett’s pole locations are affected. Cameron claimed that there are between 6,000 and 7,000 pole locations in the city of Everett and only 70 involve “double pole” situations.

National Grid has explained in the past that it isn’t able to take down those poles until all the wires on them (Comcast, Verizon, etc.) are removed. However, Councillor Lorrie Bruno complained that there are two long-standing “double poles” on Hosmer Street that are free of any other utility wires and could be dismantled, but the poles remain.

Cameron agreed that the Hosmer situation is totally National Grid’s responsibility—“that is on us”—and he promised to immediately investigate why the work hasn’t been done yet.

The public safety committee referred the “double pole” issue to its December meeting. The committee is also inviting representatives from Comcast, Verizon, Next-G Communications, and the city wire department to attend.