EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 1, 2012

On the road to recovery

Some still in dark as cleanup continues

More than 3,000 National Grid customers in the area remained in the dark early yesterday evening — some 48 hours after Superstorm Sandy hit the region — even as Massachusetts utility companies were credited with a swift response to widespread power outages.

Along with the south coast, the Merrimack Valley was one of the hardest-hit areas in the state, according Marcy Reed, president of National Grid Massachusetts.

Reed said power will be restored to the majority of customers without it today. The latest estimated time of restoration in the area is Friday at midnight, she said.

“We had a number of outages in the Merrimack Valley,” Reed said yesterday during a conference call with reporters. “We’re continuing at it. We will work as hard as we can until we get these people back.”

At 11 p.m. yesterday, National Grid estimated 3,043 customers were still without power in Methuen, Andover, Haverhill, North Andover and Lawrence. That figure was down from 5,609 at 5 p.m.

Statewide, a mid-storm high of 387,000 customers without power Monday night was down to 89,000 early yesterday. Gov. Deval Patrick said utility companies “stepped up their game” responding to Sandy, having restored power to 80 percent of the customers who lost it.

“Now, 89,000 is still a high number and if you are one of the families or businesses without power, that is very concerning,” Patrick said.

Patrick said he “will look to the utilities to do better than that, to continue to lean forward,” but credited the companies with an improved response this time than with two weather events late last year, Tropical Storm Irene and the October 2011 snowstorm.

Local officials agreed with the governor.

North Andover Public Works Director Bruce Thibodeau said National Grid was prompt in addressing reports of downed wires, which in turn freed his crews to quickly cut and haul away fallen trees and limbs.

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