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Braintree power outage caused by faulty equipment

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  April 1, 2013 01:52 PM

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By Monday morning, the recorded message for Braintree Electric Light Department stated there were no known outages, a stark change from Sunday afternoon, when two thirds of the town’s customers were in the dark.

Braintree’s power went out at approximately 12:45 p.m. on Easter Sunday, leaving 9,000 people without electricity for two hours.

According to JoAnn Stak Bregnard, a marketing and program director for Braintree Electric Light Department, the outage was due to faulty equipment.

“It was simply a piece of equipment that failed,” Bregnard said. “We’re constantly doing maintenance and making sure things are up to date, but equipment failures can occur at any time. We just try to stay on top of everything.”

The equipment failure occurred at one of the town’s six substations.

“These are things targeted for replacement and upgrade as we go through and work on the substations involved,” Bregnard said.

Bregnard wasn’t sure the last time the town had had a power outage due to equipment failure, however Peter Morin, chief of staff and operations for the town, said it is rare.

“Its very unusual. It’s unusual for BELD to have any kind of an extended power outage,” Morin said.

Morin said the mayor’s department wasn’t concerned the outage may be indicative of a larger problem. If anything, the light department has always done a good job providing service to Braintree, he said.

“I think that if you compare BELD’s performance as a municipal utility to the response time you get from one that is one of the larger multi-community utility companies, it surpasses them in every aspect, from response time to restoration time to getting information out to what the problem is,” Morin said. “I think they surpass their private rivals' performance in every aspect [as well].”

Morin said every resident was informed of the outage, which occurred in the East Braintree section of town, but did not affect South Braintree or the Highlands.

Though it was unfortunate that the outage happened on a holiday, Morin said residents coped well and the outage was resolved even before Braintree Electric anticipated it might be fixed.

“But it is unfortunate that it happened during a holiday. Last year we had a fire at a nursing home on Easter. It’s the second Easter in a row that’s been disrupted, but I think people adapted well,” Morin said.

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