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UPDATE: Power Came Back at 4:26 P.M. on Wednesday, No Recurring Outages Expected

According to Public Relations Manager, Priscilla Gottwald, RMLD, the problem was fixed and power returned at 4:26 P.M.

This article was updated at with information provided by Priscilla Gottwald, Public Relations Manager, RMLD:

Thursday, 10:25 a.m. — According to Priscilla Gottwald, a spokesperson for the Reading Municipal Light Department, power was restored at 4:26 p.m. on Wednesday. 

"There should be no recurring outages," said Gottwald. 

Wednesday, 2:27 p.m.— Patricia Gottwald, a spokesperson for the RMLD, said that power companies are hoping to restore power by 3:30 p.m.

"NSTAR crews in Woburn and National Grid crews in Tewksbury are working on the problem and hope to have the power restored by 3:30 p.m. today," said Gottwald.

According to Gottwald, at approximately 12:46 P.M., while an NSTAR crew was working on a de-energerized transmission line in Woburn, a pole fell on another NSTAR transmission line causing a major power outage.

residents and businesses in Wilmington, Reading, Lynnfield and North Reading fed by this NSTAR transmission line lost power.

Surrounding towns of Tewksbury, Woburn, Stoneham and Billerica were also affected. 

The Reading Police station sent out a message town-wide informing the community of the outage, and also sent out traffic control officers to monitor and deal with the traffic situation.

Kara Deyermenjian October 05, 2011 at 06:25 PM
Thank you, Priscilla, I will add your information to the article. I appreciate the update.
Emily M October 05, 2011 at 06:30 PM
Grateful to Priscilla for providing the update! Thank you!
Frank Keane October 05, 2011 at 09:04 PM
I work in Somerville. They make extensive use of Twitter to notify residents of events like this. The tweets are delivered immediately to subscribers smart phones. This service has proved invaluable during the summer with the traffic issues on 93 and last winter in snow emergencies. Twitter is a free service, it is a shame Reading will not adopt it as a tool to keep residents informed to events like today's power outage
M October 05, 2011 at 11:40 PM
Never got the message as my answering machine (yes we still use one) lost power and message also didn't go to my verizon voicemail as backup. Isn't there a way to get email alerts, so we can get them on cell phone?
Kara Deyermenjian October 05, 2011 at 11:45 PM
Go to http://www.readingma.gov/Pages/index, then click the RCA: Community Alerts link. Then click "sign up for alerts," and you could chose to be alerted by e-mail or text, and pick categories of the types of alerts you want to receive.
Karen October 06, 2011 at 12:46 PM
I also didn't know about the outage. I have my phone,email, and cell phone to be alerted, it just didn't happen.
Frank Keane October 06, 2011 at 02:58 PM
Kara The towns community alerts system did not send anything out on this. Since it was a power outage, the town may have decided it was not their issue.
Kara Deyermenjian October 06, 2011 at 03:04 PM
Thanks, Frank. When I was at the station I was told they were planning on sending out a message. Perhaps they changed their minds.
Ethan October 06, 2011 at 03:10 PM
Frank, Kara, I received an email from the town yesterday as part of the alert system at 1:22PM, as follows: --start-- The following is a message from Reading Community Alerts: power outage in entire town. At least an hour before restoration. Please do not call Dispatch to report. If you have received this notification in error, please reply to: communityalerts@ci.reading.ma.us --end-- I appreciate RMLD informing Patch, it would be nice if they also informed us via their website which shows nothing.
Emily M October 06, 2011 at 03:18 PM
I got the community alert text and email yesterday as well.
Priscilla Gottwald October 06, 2011 at 03:30 PM
Actually, a message was put on both our phone system and website at approximately 2 p.m. when we realized NSTAR's repairs would take longer than we initially anticipated. The message informed the public that 75% (about 20,000 customers) of our service territory was without power and repairs were under way. The message on both the phone system and the website were taken down when power was restored at 4:26 yesterday. Possibly, Ethan, you may have gone to the website before 2. Priscilla Gottwald, PR Manager, RMLD
Frank Keane October 06, 2011 at 04:34 PM
Patricia, I understand some subscribers got a txt message through Reading Notes, the town web site system, While i have receive them in the past, I did not get one yesterday.. Putting the notice on the website is great for those who live outside the effected area. For those without power, it is problematic as to how they would access the website as the home modems require power to function and without a modem, no internet access. Has RMLD ever considered using Twitter as a means to let people know by sending txt's to smart phones? Many utilities and municipalities use this free service as a means to keep subscribers up to date on information. In some locations, people can report problems by Twitter, a great use when power is out
Kara Deyermenjian October 06, 2011 at 05:59 PM
Reading Police Chief, James Cormier, and officers at the Reading Police Department encourage anyone who is signed up for the alert system who have not been receiving notifications to please contact Reading Police Business Administrator, Andrew Scribner-MacLean, at the Reading Police Department: 781-944-1212.
Priscilla Gottwald October 06, 2011 at 06:59 PM
Hi Frank, Some of us here at RLMD are trying to convince General Manager Vinnie Cameron that this is the way to go. I'll use your comment and the others for supporting our requests. By the way, I'm Priscilla. Thanks for your input. Priscilla Gottwald, PR Manager, RMLD
Frank Keane October 06, 2011 at 09:04 PM
Priscilla, there was an article in the Chronicle today about the Police department being swamped with phone calls regarding the power outage. Twitter could have eliminated many of the calls. Twitter also has a reply feature where people could report problems that occur as a result of the issue and could include pictures, to help prioritize the issue. All this occurs without the need for someone to answer a phone. Just a few more items to help in your justification
Priscilla Gottwald October 07, 2011 at 12:42 PM
I would encourage those who are affected by an electrical outage to call us directly at RMLD - 781-944-1340 - to leave police lines open for their emergencies. Whenever we have an outage to this degree (storms, transmission tower breakdown, etc.), our staff goes into emergency mode and have the most up-to-date information. We're encouraging electronic notification. Thanks, Frank, for your comments, which I will refer to in our meeting next week. Priscilla Gottwald, PR Manager, RMLD
Frank Keane November 01, 2011 at 09:43 PM
Hi Priscilla. Once again there was an opportunity to use Twitter to notify users of the power outage caused by down trees. I am not sure of the value of having a notice on the web site to let people know of the issue since you need power for your router to connect to the internet to get to the website. The outbound calls work if your phone lines are out due to the storm. Twitter is a two way tool. It is hard to understand the reliance on people calling the police department who then notify the light department. The town sends out a message on their new system via phone to let people know they are aware of the problems but since it is an RMLD issue, they do not provide any details on expected fixes. It seems that the use of current free technology could certainly streamline and modernize this process ax well as let the customers know what is happening. I am starting to think this is a generational issue, we have always used the phone, why change.

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