Mark Plante's Blog

Power’s Back On

Wow, it’s been a minute since I’ve posted to my blog. Sorry, things have been crazy around here with all of the girl’s sports practices games and social events, Leigh and I haven’t had a chance to catch our breath.

We had a pretty strong storm go through Rhode Island and Southern New England on Sunday night (10/29/17) with 50mph winds and with a strong gust of 80mph at Conimicut Point in Warwick, RI.  There was quite a bit of storm damage, mainly to trees.  With this said, power was out throughout most of the state on Monday morning.

In the state of Rhode Island, there is pretty much one electric company that you can use and that is National Grid. National Grid is headquartered in Warwick, United Kingdom (not a US company) and has a track record of slow recovery after a natural disaster, which was no different with this storm.

As of Wednesday, November 1, 2017, three days after the storm hit, 32% of the State of Rhode Island was still without electricity.  I commute from the Northwest corner to Providence every day and on those three days, I did not see one National Grid truck or employee working on any of the downed power lines or poles.  It was not until my commute on Thursday Morning (day 4), four days after the storm, that I saw a convoy of power trucks heading to the area.  Coincidentally, this was the morning after Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo announced to the press that the Governor’s office will be doing a review of Nation Grid’s preparedness for this storm.

The power was restored to my home at 5PM on Thursday, November 2, 2017.  Four days after we originally lost power.

I understand that this was a pretty strong storm and the loss of electricity is not necessarily National Grid’s fault, where I have the issue is with the lack of information that the company passed on to the public and that this information that was passed on to the public was, for the most part, incorrect.  During the four days that my home was without power, I was called three times by National Grid with incorrect power restoration times.  National Grid’s website and smartphone apps were absolutely useless and, again, provided incorrect information.

As I mentioned earlier, National Grid’s track record on recovery in Rhode Island is not the greatest.  Five years ago in 2012, Superstorm Sandy devastated the Northeast United States from New Jersey to Maine.  Widespread power outages and storm damage occurred.  Although when Sandy went through Rhode Island it was only a Tropical Storm (, with top wind speeds under 75mph, it took National Grid WEEKS to restore power to the entire state.

I am listening and reading the excuses from National Grid on why it took so long to restore power to the region and I had a major case of deja vu.  They are using the same excuses that they used during Sandy for this storm.  It is also the same threats from the Governor’s Office of an investigation of what happen.  The same result that came from Sandy will come from this “investigation”… NOTHING.  We will be in the same situation the next time that a strong storm comes through, the same slow response time and the same excuses and threats of investigations that do absolutely nothing.