, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 8, 2013

Many questions, few answers at hearing


The representative didn’t have an answer to Selectman Dick Cushing’s question on what the long-term plan was for upgrading secondary lines in the area with conduit.

He was unsure if the project extended all the way down Woodcrest Drive, or just partially. He couldn’t say when the work was likely to begin or if the work would cause any interruption to the residents’ electrical power, though he did say people would be notified in advance if that turned out to be the case.

One Hilltop Circle resident wondered if other utilities such as gas and cable television might be affected during the project. When the representative again had no answer, West Newbury’s Public Works director Gary Bill, piped up from the audience.

“I can answer that — there will be other disruptions,” Bill said, noting that the underground cables used for the different utilities are all intertwined.

Robert Cleary of Robin Road questioned why the company was seeking easements onto the property owner’s deeds for this project when in the past 15 years work has frequently been done by National Grid on his land without his ever having signed off on an easement.

Kemper wondered if perhaps in preparing for this type of large-scale project the company only recently realized that the easements had never been secured previously.

Cleary felt the easement request was too vague and left open the possibility for the company to install something more than just the existing transformer he has at the edge of his property. But when he asked if wording in the easement could be included that would limit what can be put on his land, he was told by Boucher to bring that question to the company’s legal department.

One thing the representative was sure about was that the electric company would fix any disruption to a property owner’s driveway, mailbox or sprinkler system. Selectmen Chairman Bert Knowles assured residents that would be the case because his board has insisted as a condition of approval that National Grid take out a $20,000 surety bond to cover all items disturbed in the town’s right-of-way during the project.

The public hearing was continued until Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.

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