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Dedham Resident Speaks Out Against NSTAR

In a letter to the editor, Martin Hanley speaks out against the utility company after finding leftover cables unattended in Dedham, among other related issues.

Credit: Martin Hanley
Credit: Martin Hanley

Editor's Note: The following letter was submitted to Dedham Patch by Dedham resident Martin Hanley.

For many months since the demolition of the building at the rotary, there has been a large roll of utility wires carelessly left behind by NSTAR. Should we assume they have no current running though them ? Maybe that would be assuming too much if you look at the record.  

The company, despite their hyped merger so to run a a more efficient utility, continues to treat Dedham like some post-war industrial park. Old double utility poles are on some of most prominent streets. Looks at the corner of Harris and Washington St. (going on well over eight years).  

Despite the efforts of town officials, excuses offered by NSTAR for not removing them are feckless to say the least. Consider that cable and telephone companies  are mere tenants on the NSTAR poles. If they are not moving their wires in a timely basis, I'm sure there are punitive measures that the landlord entity can effect if it truly has a will. But the state law mandating a 90 day deadline for this action is ignored as there are incredibly no fines levied for the violation.

We should stand up for our right not to suffer the careless blight and ugliness inflicted by a group of huge utility companies such as NSTAR while private owners work to maintain the appearance of their property, the volunteer crews of Dedham Civic Pride spend much time and private funds to beautify the town, and the taxpayers pay off construction bonds for upgrading of public spaces and infrastructure. 

Tell your state lawmakers that enough is enough. They should rewrite the law to fine utility companies when they don't do the right thing and make sure it doesn't get passed along to we rate payers. Dedham should permit no more pole installations until this festering situation is fixed and a binding agreement with the town of Dedham is signed.

While we're at it, call Tom May, President of NSTAR over at their beautifully appointed Westwood corporate headquarters, where all the utility lines leading up to their offices are buried underground.

Bob Taraschi June 06, 2014 at 07:47 AM
Aesthetics, albeit important, aside, the real public issue that might inspire action by the Selected People is safety and protection. Two separate poles directly across the street from my home on Willow Street have been 'piggy-backed' together for more then ten years. The issue for me is this: one pole is firmly planted in the ground while the other pole, ' the leaner' holds onto it, attached by a thin, cleverly-wrapped wire. This wire is the only thing that prevents 'the leaner' from falling on the heads of neighborhood children who play underneath it. I empathize and understand the difficulty NSTAR might have in herding COMCAST, VERIZON, the telephone company and all the other players to act responsibly and together and move their equipment and lines from one pole to another. I don't have before me statistics to prove the mean time to failure for these poles, but my own common sense tells me a thin piece of wire attaching a thousand pound, free-floating pole to a stationary pole was not meant to last over ten years. So, dearest Select People and NSTAR must we have a child die before you realize that the cost to your reputation and the lives of the people you serve outweight the cost of removing these precariously non-functioning poles. One only has to look at the heartache and turmoil GM is facing right now and the dozens of families who suffer daily from the loss of a loved one to realize that product safety, and in our case pole safety and integrity is more important than money and, or all the excuses, cover stories actually, that our town Select People and NSTAR can make. Tactically, we all know that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, especially in our town where we can find the money and resolve to build a new town hall complex but not address this far more real life, real life-threatening situation. In my experience, the only town organization that seems to get the attention and a response from NSTAR and other pole carriers to address an immediate pole safety issue is the fire department. Their job is to address public safety concerns like fallen live wires and broken poles, and they seem more interested and have the means to get crews from NSTAR out to address short-term pole problems. Perhaps if we called them regularly and they sent fire trucks out to investigate public safety concerns often enough, they could convince the Selected People that this issue is more than an aesthetic problem, but a real public safety concern. Maybe then, no one will have to die before our town does something meaningful and important for our town citizens.
Bob Taraschi June 06, 2014 at 08:18 AM
Another interesting irony in our town, as well as other towns in which I have lived is if we were to have electrical work done on our homes, electricians are required to request a permit to do the work. Depending the size and extent of the work, town electrical inspectors check the progress of the work at various stages of completion and at the end of job issue, what I think is called an 'occupancy certificate.' The purpose of the permitting process is to protect the homeowner from faulty electrical practices and to provide all of us the the warm psychological cuddle that not only our homes but the homes in our neighborhood won't catch fire and destroy other properties as well as our own. In all the years I've lived in any town, I have never seen one electrical inspector climb up on a pole to check the work of an electrical crew from a company like NSTAR before, during or after, a piggy-backed electrical wire transfer. I find this ironic as we, as well as the town inspectors, are concerned about the distribution of electricity in our homes, but not very concerned about those who provide us with the electricity. Perhaps if we opened our scope of vision and looked, permitted and checked the whole electric infrastructure - inside our home and outside - our pole problem would be addressed by people who have more authority and power to do something meaningful than individual citizens.
Martin Hanley June 06, 2014 at 03:41 PM
Very weak response by the NSTAR flack in D. Times today. Said it was CATV, not theirs, but it was hanging off their pole for a year and wasn't noticed? Did not respond to double pole issues and listed the automated 800 number as a place to call with "concerns". I might be calling her directly to invite her and Tom May along on a media tour around town.
Bob Taraschi June 06, 2014 at 03:47 PM
Best of luck. I mean it.
Martin Hanley June 06, 2014 at 05:46 PM
Thanks for the observations Mr. Taraschi. We hope that these comments are being recorded over at NSTAR media people for Mr. May's attention. We of course would welcome a meeting with him at anytime.

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