Blandford hit with major power outage

BLANDFORD – The town of Blandford did not fare as well as some as Hurricane Sandy brought high winds and power outages to western Massachusetts.
As of press time, Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECO) reported that 91 percent of Blandford was still without power.
“Restoration work is starting up again this morning,” said Blandford Fire Chief Tom Ackley. “Because of the high winds last night they were afraid the wind would tip the buckets so they are working on it now.”
Of the 686 WMECO customers there, 627 are affected by the outage.
Parts of Russell were without power for some time, too.  However, Fire Chief Michael Morrisey said this morning following a meeting of town department heads that the town is up and running.
“We are 99 percent up now,” he said. “We had some cable, phone and electrical infrastructure problems, but they were taken care of quickly.”
There were a few residents without power in the Pine Hill Road area this morning.
“WMECO is working on the larger outages first, like Blandford,” said Morrisey. “But all of our roads are open, our infrastructure is fine and we fared well.”
In Granville, Town Hall was open last night, serving as a warming and charging station in case of power failure. The precautionary measure was not needed by the majority of residents, just six of which were reported without power today.
WMECO reported that just 0.77 percent of its 777 customers in Granville were affected this morning.
In Tolland, 343 of 557 WMECO customers – or 61-percent – were without power at press time, and 86 of 1,126 customers in Huntington were affected by power outages.
State Sen. Michael R. Knapik was driving to Boston this morning and said it was business as usual for most of the region.  He said he was in touch with officials in Blandford this morning.
“The selectmen said WMECO should have them up by 8 a.m. tomorrow,” Knapik said. “We’ll be checking in with WMECO to make sure.”
Knapik said most of his district had “sporadic, small-scale outages” but the hilltowns were hit hard.
“Blandford, Tolland and Chester were affected substantially by power outages,” Knapik said.”Our goal is to get electricity restored as quickly as possible.”
He said work trucks were heading west on the Mass Pike and power was out at the Charlton rest area, but most of the state was in good shape.
“The commuter rails into Boston still are not working, and about 350,000 residents across the commonwealth lost power, so our priority is getting Massachusetts up and running, then we will probably send crews to help our neighbors in the south.”
Southwick and Westfield were largely spared, with a two-hour school delay in each community. The Gateway Regional School District is closed today.

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