Help on the way in Southwick

SOUTHWICK – Western Massachusetts Electric Company ( WMECO) arrived in town with five or six crews yesterday to begin efforts to restore power to more than 4,200 Southwick customers still in the dark.
Chief Administrative Officer Karl Stinehart said WMECO has set up an office next to the emergency management center at Town Hall.
“They restored power on College Highway and expect to have 10 crews tomorrow,” said Stinehart.
The town also obtained a pallet of bottled water for distribution to residents of Southwick who are not connected to town water.
“We will give out one gallon per person per day,” Stinehart said.
Yesterday, a lot of tree debris was removed from roads throughout town and the transfer station is accepting tree branches and storm-related tree debris.
Stinehart said town officials are working with local legislators to expedite the removal of fallen trees.
“We are looking for short-term relief from procurement laws,” he said.
Under normal conditions, towns must go out to bid for contracted tree services, which can be a lengthy process.
“We don’t have that kind of time,” said Stinehart. “We need to do this.”
Right now, said Stinehart, things are looking up in Southwick. This is welcome news for residents because 96 percent of the town lost power Saturday night during the storm.
“We are working with WMECO and when we find obstacles, we are going to work with the correct people to work around them,” Stinehart said. “Town Hall was open today and all the employees are doing a great job of pitching in.”

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