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MLP Restores Power to Wellesley in Under 24 Hours

No resident was without power for more than 20 hours following the weekend nor’easter, according to Wellesley Municipal Light Plant Director Dick Joyce.

By Bret Silverberg Bret.Silverberg@Patch.com
Oct 31, 2011

While much of the region is still without power following the shocking October nor’easter that swept through the state Saturday night, Wellesley’s power was restored in its entirety by 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

Don Newell, electric superintendent for the Wellesley Municipal Light Plant (MLP), says full credit should go to the MLP’s system and staff for such a quick power-on turnaround.

“An awful lot of the municipally owned utilities are this way,” he said. “There’s a lot of effort in building the system well and maintaining the system well.”

Newell organized the effort, which began Saturday at 7 p.m. Crews chased sporadic outages between 8 and 9 p.m., Newell said.

In storms like these, outages occur randomly and are dealt with in a triage sort of way. Outages that affect the most number of people take priority, Newell said.

Crews continued work on downed wires – and in one case a downed utility poll – throughout the day yesterday, restoring the entire grid by bedtime Sunday.

“Amazing that no one in Wellesley was without power for more than 20 hours when you hear that many of the surrounding communities will not have power restored for almost a week,” Wellesley Municipal Light Plant Director Dick Joyce wrote in an e-mail.

MLP crews dealt with a similar scenario during Tropical Storm Irene, in which strong winds crushed trees and knocked out power throughout town Sunday, Aug. 28.

And again, while much of Massachusetts was in the dark for the remainder of the week, all of Wellesley’s power was restored by the early morning hours of Monday, Aug. 29.

“I think hurricanes scare everybody because they can really devastate a town,” Newell said. “Not that there’s not a lot of preparation that goes into every storm.”

MLP Crews in Wellesley will patrol the streets for the remainder of the week checking wires and ensuring residents’ homes stay heated and the lights stay on.

“The residents are our shareholders, if you will,” he said. “Rather than try to keep our stock prices high, we end up putting it back into the system.”