NStar to open information center at the Boston Public Library Monday for Back Bay customers

NStar will open an information center at the Boston Public Library Monday to provide information to customers affected by the Back Bay power outages.

Back Bay continues to recover from power outages that began Tuesday night and continued through this morning, when NStar cut off power at 3 a.m. for a little over an hour to transfer buildings from a temporary to permanent power connection.

NStar spokesman Michael Durand said the information center, which will be open Monday to Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Boston Public Library, is meant to help with the recovery.

In recent days, NStar officials have been insistent that power company will not pay damages for lost business, income, or food. While the information center will not be a forum to file claims, Durand said, representatives will be available to answer the questions to customers who may be seeking to file a claim.


“The center is not specific to customers who are filing claims,’’ Durand said. “This is to provide information about what may or may not qualify if they want to file a claim.’’

On Saturday morning, most buildings in the Back Bay had been returned to the permanent power network after the scheduled 3 a.m. outage. Restaurants were open for business, and throngs of residents and visitors walked the streets.

But in some parts of one of Boston’s premier business districts, large generators still hummed away near some major buildings.

“We are still using generators as part of the system to supply power to customers,’’ Durand said. “We have converted back to our system, but we do have generators still.’’

The fourth floor of the Westin Copley Place Hotel lost power at about 10:30 a.m. — right in the middle of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Conference.

Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, used the power outage as an opportunity to crack a joke during the conference, telling that audience that “what we have here with the lights going out’’ was the kind of situation he tries to avoid.

At Joe’s American Bar and Grille on Newbury Street, tables were filled with patrons enjoying weekend brunch. Manager Tessa Troth said there were no issues stemming from last night’s brief outage.


“Everything is up and running,’’ said Troth. “Everything here is great.’’

Affected residents seemed more concerned with what they said was poor communication by NStar than the length of the blackout.

Twenty-two-year-old Northeastern University student Sarah Longstreet said the utility’s ever-shifting time estimates for the restoration of power made her week “an absolute nightmare.’’

She and her roommates put newly purchased groceries into coolers, thinking the power would return shortly, only to have them spoil. After a day with no lights, no heat and no hot water, they fled for a friend’s apartment.

“My biggest problem was that we kept on being provided estimates that were obviously untrue,’’ Longstreet said. “Had we known in the first place, we would have just gotten out right away and gone to a friend’s where there was power… I obviously don’t know anything about how long it takes to fix these things, but I think the communications were off by saying, ‘oh you’re gonna have power at this time, at this time,’ when it was clear those were targets they weren’t going to make.’’

Longstreet said the effects of the blackout were apparent in small ways too.

“I went to class and all the girls were wearing hats because they hadn’t showered,’’ she laughed.



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