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GROTON DODGES BULLET: Hybrid Storm's Wrath Tacks South, Sparing Town

After massive winds and torrential rains wrought by hurricane Sandy, Groton Electric Light Department Manager Kevin Kelly said that at the peak of the storm there were 600 residences without power, and as of publication, only two unoccupied camps remain without electricity.

Two of the largest sections of town to lose power were the Nashua Road/Longley Road area where at various times 130 to 212 homes were without power for more than five hours and the Hayden Road area where 128 homes were affected and were out for more than nine hours. Kelly said that there were pockets of smaller events where some 10 individual homes were affected and several of these were without power for more than 16 hours.

On Nashua Road, Kelly said that they had gottrn the power restored, but only minutes later another large tree came down taking out the whole area yet again. On Hayden Road, GELD crews cleared a downed tree and put in a new pole. As they cleared this and worked their way down Hayden, they found an enormous four-foot diameter tree that brought down the lines. Kelly said that GELD does not have a chainsaw capable of cutting such a large diameter tree and at 2 a.m. called in Meade Tree Service to help. The road was closed in that area for some time.

Kelly stressed that GELD's ability to out-respond other towns is that the municipal light company has been preparing for storms, even unprecedented storms like Sandy, for the past 20 years, building a quality infrastructure that makes it much easier for GELD to make repairs and restore power to residents. He pointed out that the two-way communication meters on homes give him the best information regarding outages and allows him to apply his resources to the most urgent areas to achieve maximum efficiency.

Kelly noted that GELD systematically replaces some 200 poles per year over the town's 32 square miles, so the lines are in better shape, and if a tree takes down a pole, it may affect only one or two poles where a 30-year old pole would take out the whole area.

He advised that currently 22 percent of Dunstable and 25 percent of Shirley are without power. GELD sent two crews to assist Concord as part of the mutual aid for municipally owned light companies.

Groton Herald

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