It May Take 'Several Days' To Restore Power Across Mass., Says Gov. Baker

Oct 30, 2017

More than 200,000 Bay State residents are expected to be without power into Tuesday and full restoration of electricity could take days, according to Gov. Charlie Baker, who said lingering winds made it difficult Monday to recover from the powerful storm that ripped through the state overnight.

Strong winds and whipping rain that came with the fast moving storm knocked down trees, branches and power lines across the state overnight Sunday into Monday. The storm snarled the morning commute for many and caused commuter rail delays and school cancellations in some communities.

In some areas like the Merrimack Valley, towns were canceling trick-or-treating hours for Tuesday in anticipation of power still being out.

"The big issue we have right now is the wind, for all intents and purposes, really didn't die down very much today in a lot of places, which made it very difficult for crews to actually do a bunch of the work that's required to get people back up so it's likely that this is going to take several days," Baker told reporters Monday afternoon.

The governor and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said northeastern, southeastern and central Massachusetts were hardest hit and could take the longest before power is restored. MEMA said communities in western Massachusetts served by Eversource could be fully restored Monday night.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito participated on a conference call Monday afternoon with emergency management and municipal officials to get feedback on restoration efforts, and Baker said the goal was to clear the debris and work "as quickly as we possibly can to get people back on line."

"I think this isn't going to be a one-day thing. I think it may take most of the week to actually get where we need to be here and we're probably going to expect at least to have a couple hundred thousand people who probably are still out tomorrow," Baker said.

As of 6:30 p.m., MEMA was reporting 239,233 customers still without electricity. Though the sun was shining for much of day, wind gusts of 40 to 50 miles per hour were still possible across most the state Monday night, diminishing overnight and picking back up Tuesday with 25 mile-per-hour gusts expected in most areas and 35 mile-per-hour gusts possible on the Cape and islands.

Eversource told the state it could take 48 hours before all customers are brought back up, while National Grid said it could need 72 hours to reconnect all customers.

Baker was among the state residents who lost power from the storm, and as of Monday evening only 89 customers, or 1 percent, were still without power in Swampscott. It's unclear if Baker's home had been restored.

"People can move pretty quickly once the weather cooperates to actually solve those problems, but it was a heck of a storm," he said.

This report was originally published by the State House News Service.