10.26.2012

Union honcho: National Grid storm ignore our advice

Head of unions representing thousands of workers utility front lines Storms Sandy said National Grid officials ignore their advice on how to improve the response time in the middle of another big storm - a claim denied by the company.

"It's almost like a tale of two utility companies," said Dan Hurley, president of Local 369 Utility Workers Union of America, with about 600 to 700 NSTAR 1,900 other employees under the National Grid. "NSTAR seem to heed our advice, and the National Grid, for the moment, they might have a better plan. We are trying to improve their answers and we hit the wall. '

In response, National Grid officials said that "the amount of input from our employees," and to actually apply the advice "of the union to decentralize the operations during major weather events."

"We appreciate the work of frontline employees as we work to restore power to all of our customers as quickly and safely as possible," said a statement from the National Grid.

At 05:30, more than 294,000 people without power in the state as Sandy approached mainland, according to the utility.

Utility giant has been criticized both last year, following the response to Tropical Storm Irene and the late October surprise snowstorm that killed thousands of people in the dark. Attorney General Martha Coakley proposed NSTAR fined $ 10 million and $ 16 million National Grid to effectively stop the emergency response team personnel fallen power lines and communicate with customers and people. The fines are pending before the Department of Public Utility.

Post-Irene, NSTAR said Hurley meets union leaders, who participated in the so-called "occasional committee meetings storm" trade input in making better response. He said union officials who proposed simplifies the process of sending workers to the affected areas, and more.

"Union leaders have given us information about the logistics Services personnel, such as when sense to change the schedule to better use our resources," said NSTAR spokeswoman Caroline Pretyman, citing the inclusion of the union " very useful "to respond to customers. "We also took their suggestions on where to build a new staging location so they pre-positioned to respond."

But Hurley said that even a recent Friday, a meeting with National Grid "does not really go anywhere."

"It seems that when a hurricane, there are too many cooks in the kitchen and be able to let workers go out and do what they do," says Hurley. "We tried to explain to the National Grid, but with different rules.

"It is a matter of pride to men and women," he added, referring to public service workers. "The men and women out there want to get power. Who better to develop a response plan or help plan the development of the respondent on the road? '

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