Electricity Problems May Finally Be Repaired In Hyannis

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By: Laura M. Reckford
Published: 07/18/12

Power seems to have stabilized to businesses on and near Main Street, Hyannis today at 2 PM after two days with dozens of mini outages.

Power blinked out today about 12 times between 9:45 AM and 1 PM.

Yesterday, power blinked out by some estimates over 20 times between noon and 3:30 PM.

At about 3:45 PM yesterday, power was shut off by NStar to perform repairs and the problem appeared to have been fixed until this morning's outages.

NStar spokesman Michael Durand said most of the same customers were affected today as yesterday, but not all at the same time. "This is part of some work we're doing today to make some electrical changes that will improve service in that area," he said at 12:04 PM today.

Earlier this afternoon after 11 outages over three hours, Mr. Durand said he could not say for sure how long it would take to repair the problem other than to say workers were making progress.

The equpment problem that caused the mini outages was at the substation located at Center Street and Main Street, Mr. Durand said.

Yesterday Mr. Durand described the problem by saying, "A connector that holds a wire in place failed and without the proper secure connection the power became intermittent."

Mr. Durand said the connector problem was fixed yesterday but today there was a different issue.

"A circuit breaker is opening and closing, possibly due to the heat and related high demand for electricity," he wrote in an e-mail at 2 PM today.

"We're working to make some changes electrically to correct the problem. The circuit breaker operating is causing outages of approximately 30 seconds in duration. Unfortunately, as we make the electrical changes, there are additional intermittent outages seen by some of the affected customers of approximately three minutes in duration," he wrote.

Among the buildings affected was the Puritan building in the center of town, which contains stores, offices and restaurants.

Elizabeth Wurfbain, executive director of the Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District, said her staff were also  experiencing the mini outages in their offices on the second floor of the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum across the street from Puritan. She said the museum had to be shut down temporarily yesterday because of the mini outages.

Ms. Wurfbain said she had heard from other business owners on Main Street that the power outages were affecting businesses all along the street.

But Ms. Wurfbain said that many Main Street restaurants have generators and so they are not affected by problems with the utility.

Town of Barnstable offices in town hall were also not affected because the offices are powered by a generator.

At 3:26 yesterday, Mr. Durand reported, "We're currently evaluating the situation to determine the best course of action, but it's likely we'll have to intentionally interrupt power to the affected customers for about an hour while we make repairs."

That extended power interruption began at about 3:45 PM and lasted about 20 minutes.

Mr. Durand said about 735 customers were affected by the mini outages yesterday and about 135 customers were affected by the 20-minute power outage yesterday, which he called a "necessary" power outage, to fix the problem.

NStar merged with Northeast Utilities in April but as with all Northeast Utilities companies, the NStar name is being retained for local electric and gas customers.

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