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February 11, 2013

Gov. 'very concerned' as families face Day 3 without power

SCITUATE, Mass. - With about 100,000 Massachusetts homes in the dark for a third day, Gov. Deval Patrick toured Blizzard of 2013 damage on the South Shore this morning and declared ongoing power restoration efforts “pretty good” while expressing concern for families spending prolonged periods in homes where temperatures have been diving towards the freezing mark.

At Scituate High School, where he was accompanied by emergency management officials and Reps. James Cantwell (D-Marshfield) and Garrett Bradley (D-Hingham), Patrick said he’d witnessed snapped telephone poles, downed trees, damaged seawalls and “extraordinary” amounts of debris in coastal towns.

Thanking residents for their patience, Patrick acknowledged the hardships in towns without power, where the temperatures in homes have fallen below 40 degrees, causing homeowners to be concerned about their pipes freezing and bursting.

“I know it’s been many days without power,” the governor said.

At about 9:45 a.m., Patrick estimated power had been restored over the past 72 hours to 300,000 homes across Massachusetts, with 100,000 more still waiting for crews to bring their homes back online.

Asked his opinion of the pace of power restoration efforts, Patrick, comparing it to efforts in the wake of last October’s storm, said “on the whole it’s pretty good,” but added, “If you’re the one without power, it’s not going fast enough.” Patrick said communication efforts by utilities had been “better” in this storm.

According to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, 116,000 electricity customers were without power as of noon Monday, including 23,000 National Grid and 93,000 NSTAR customers.

With long storm-related power outages becoming more common, Patrick was asked whether he thought it was due to the severity of storms, the capacity of response crews, or both. He answered, in part, with a call on utilities to investigate an option that could protect power lines from falling trees and debris.

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