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UPDATED: Dozens Still Without Power in Stoneham

About 60 NSTAR customers are reportedly without power in town as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, and the Department of Public Works hopes to have the storm debris cleaned up this week.

After the Halloween weekend snowstorm knocked out power to thousands of Stoneham households, power is expected to be restored by Tuesday morning, according to an NSTAR power outage report.

Updated at 4:50 p.m. Tuesday

As of 4 p.m. Tuesday, 59 NSTAR customers in Stoneham were without power, but they are expected to have it restored before the end of the day.

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NSTAR Update

As of midnight Monday, 813 of the 10,571 (7.7 percent) NSTAR customers in town were still without power, according to the report.

"All of NSTAR’s (3,000) employees along with extra utility and tree crews are fully engaged in the restoration effort and will work around the clock until all customers are restored," according to the NSTAR media hotline. "Crews from as far away as Michigan are on their way to assist. Heavy wet snow and strong winds, together with a full fall tree canopy, took down wires and caused widespread power outages. Level 5 of NSTAR’s Emergency Response Plan – the same severity level we activated during Tropical Storm Irene – remains in effect. 

"At this time, (46,000) NSTAR customers are without power. Most of the outages are concentrated in our western service territory around the communities of Framingham, Waltham and Walpole. Given the downed trees limiting access in some areas, and the severe damage done to our system, our clean-up and power restoration work will be a multi-day effort."

NSTAR customers can report their power outages on the company's Web site or by calling 1-800-592-2000. The company also asks customers to stay away from down wires and to report them to local emergency officials.

DPW Working Hard

Meanwhile, a major cleanup effort is underway in town and Department of Public Works Director Robert Grover hopes to have the storm debris cleaned up this week.

At the peak of the storm, Grover said 32 contractors and 20 DPW employees (nearly the entire staff) were working to clear streets, sidewalks and even some cars and houses of fallen tree limbs and a few downed trees. Some employees worked 20 consecutive hours, from 6 p.m. Saturday through 2 p.m. Sunday, he said.

"We received over 200 calls for downed limbs and trees," Grover said, adding it was the most calls he'd received for an October storm in the 26 years he's served the town and how this weekend reminded him of the April Fools Day storm a couple years ago. "This storm has been the most destructive (fall) storm because the weight of the leaves caused tree limbs to snap."

Emergency Calls For Service Spiked Over the Weekend

Typically, the responds to anywhere from 40-70 calls for service in a week, but over the weekend they fielded more than 150, according to the department's fire log. The majority of the calls dealt with wires down.

Costly Cleanup

While he didn't have the cost figures immeditely available, Grover anticipates the cleanup effort to be a "slow and expensive."

"We're hoping to get (the cleanup) done this week," Grover said. "It's going to take some time though. We only have one (wood) chipper." He added that the Stevens Street Recycling facility will also be busy tending to all the storm debris dropped off at the site by residents that will need to removed by a contracted hauling service.

According to Grover, the northeast and northwest sections of Stoneham tended to have more downed limbs than other parts of town, as there are more mature and larger trees to contend with, such as with the large trees on High Street.

Despite the DPW crews working tirelessly over the weekend, Grover said there is still much debris to be cleared from the streets.

"We have plenty of sidewalks covered with downed limbs, but we're not as bad off as the western part of the state," Grover said.

Word on the Street

According to posts on the Stoneham Patch Facebook page, some areas of town are still without power while others have seen it restored.

"Drummond (Road) went on during the night," wrote Avon Beauty Center. "We were out since (Saturday) night."

"Ellen (Road) lost power for (less than) 20 seconds early (5 a.m.) this morning," posted Stoneham resident Ted Thomas. "The next street over, Walsh (Avenue), has been (without) power since sometime last night, just like after (Tropical Storm) Irene blew through."

According to Stonehamite Eleana Lombardi O'Brien, Sunrise Avenue has dealt with "32 hours with no power, ugh!" 

We'll provide more updates as we receive them.

Is Trick-or-Treating Still Happening?

Halloween trick-or-treating hasn't been postponed and is still on for tonight. The town doesn't set specific trick-or-treating hours, but police have advised the ideal times to go are between 5-8 p.m.

Jonathan Pickering October 31, 2011 at 05:01 PM
How do people feel NSTAR and National Grid handled the storm overall?

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