Explosion injures worker, knocks out power to parts of Charlestown, Somerville

An explosion at an NStar plant on Alford Street in Everett this morning sent at least one worker to the hospital and cut off power to parts of Charlestown and into Somerville as far away as Davis Square, where John Pouliot tweets:

Diesel Cafe in Davis has no power, so the humongous Starbucks across the street is packed. God is angry with us.

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      NStar communications failure

      We lost power at our house in Union Square at around 9:45 am (along with everyone else, I'm sure).

      NStar's 800-number put me through a 6-minute hold queue, followed by an automated voice mail system that took my name, address and phone number. DIrect-dialing in to Somerville 311 from my cell phone just got a busy signal.

      Fortunately, a Twitter search for "Somerville" yielded dozens of people from across the city saying that their power was out. (Only the second time I'd ever found Twitter useful, go figure!)

      You would *think* that NStar, being the responsible and (hopefully) knowledgeable party, would use its social media to communicate with customers, right?

      You'd be wrong. The most recent post at http://twitter.com/#!/NSTAR_News (the "official" voice of NStar on Twitter) is about a month old (June 20), and says, "Check out NSTAR VP Penni Conner’s column about a unique approach to energy efficiency financing in Massachusetts." No, I'm not giving the article a link.

      A possibly similar event took place at the Alford Street plant on June 25, 2010, according to the top of this now-archived article at the Boston Herald: http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20...

      Thank you to all the Tweeps who posted what they learned... otherwise I'd still be in the dark.

      (Well, you know...)

      To be fair

      The City of Boston (@NotifyBoston) on Twitter has done a good job of forwarding any information it receives directly from NSTAR regarding Charlestown. I don't know about Somerville, but I have to imagine they can get the same info directly from NSTAR.

      Calm down

      NStar has an explosion at which people are hurt and you are upset that NStar didn't sent you a personal message the minute the power went out? Both Boston.com and BostonHerald.com haven't picked up the story yet. If you wanted to know if the power outage was more than just your house, go outside and walk around.

      UPDATE: BostonHerald now has the 30 minute power outage:
      http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/201...

      Why does NSTAR have a Twitter feed?

      My point is that, NSTAR has a Twitter feed, but they do NOT use it to communicate useful information to customers. Somerville has done a fine job (as have Boston and Cambridge, I'm sure). I just find it sad that NSTAR - the ones who know the most - *has* a Twitter feed, but it's entirely controlled by their PR department, and only posts fluff. Look back through their feed, there isn't a single operational notice anywhere in it.

      *That's* what I find lame. Does that make sense?

      I hear you

      Boston Police, the city of Boston in general and even the MBTA do a good job notifying people via Twitter of problems that could affect more people than just those directly involved (a crime scene, for example, that requires shutting down a major thoroughfare).

      It does require commitment from upper management and somebody in customer service to actually send out alerts, but if police and the T can do it, so can Nstar. It's not like anybody's even asking them to replicate National Grid's outage map - that would take actual programming work.

      Weird results

      Power blew at my house near Union Square at 10:30 and stayed down until about 12:30.

      On the other hand, the NSTAR automated system was efficient and had zero wait on my call.

      Twitter: Pfffft!

      Twitter: Pffft. This is where Universal Hub excels! :-)

      I got home last night and turned on my server and was confronted by a login screen. "Odd," I thought, "I'm almost positive I logged in after I rebooted this morning before I left the house at 0806. Hmmmmm. The uptime says the server has been up 13.9 hours. That would mean it rebooted around....9:45AM." Must have been a power failure.

      But now, I know!

      Thanks, Universal Hub! :-)