The Herald reports on a Menino press conference.
I like where this is heading. I've been a bit dismayed as nationally more and more of our public resources have been given away at basement-bottom rates for years at a time (sometimes even in perpetuum) just to get cash up front to cover budget problems that are the result of something far more endemic that isn't being solved. This has been less of an issue locally which I consider very lucky for us...but I can see its day coming (I can't wait to hear that the solution for the MBTA is to sell it off to some Middle Eastern conglomerate to run it "more efficiently").
If we're so afraid of "government regulation" as the current boogeyman in politics that we're willing to let companies like this control themselves...or deregulate the financial sector...or whatever have you, then maybe we can make it unlikely that they'd be so willing to be so cavalier as to take over public interests if they were held more responsible for the consequences. The current climate of "privatize the profit, socialize the losses" needs to end. If the current political climate is so willing to privatize profits, then it's time to saddle them with the losses too.
I seem to remember having to throw out some milk a couple of years ago in Hyde Park when the power was out for more than a day. Of course, other parts of the state have had it much worse.
Far more troubling than me throwing out milk, of course, is the fact that these poor people are still waiting to be made whole from the contractor negligence that completely destroyed their house. Why isn't Menino out pleading their case? They lived right around the corner from him, for crying out loud.
But I absolutely agree that utility companies should be held responsible in cases like this where people lose money and goods- whether in the Back Bay, Jamaica Plain, or Dorchester. Would NStar make up the difference by deducting damages from the CEO's bonus, or by raising rates for everyone, I wonder? Hopefully the state can block them from the latter course.
I'm sure there is well established contract and case law on this and everyone wants to slam NSTAR. I have no particular affinity for them but 100% uptime is just plain not realistic. I've lived here for 20 years and I think this is the first time we've had a disruption - that's pretty good in my book. This certainly wasn't willful and I've heard nothing (so far) to remotely indicate that this was negligent due to poor maintenance etc. Heard one restaurant owner on the radio say that if his power was out for more than 12 hours, NSTAR was on the hook for the spoilage -but he wasn't holding his breath. If this turns out truly to be a freakish accident, it's hard to blame them any more than the guy on the south shore who came downstairs and found his radio on fire and due to that and high winds it burned down 4 houses. Should he be held responsible for rebuilding all the houses because his radio burned up? Let's be real - NSTAR probably bought the transformer, they didn't build it and it doesn't sound like these things implode like this on a regular basis for no reason - can anyone point to a single other incidence where a large transformer blew up on NSTAR's watch? I'm not a particular fan of theirs - but the kneejerk "Make 'em pay" crowd seems to be jumping the gun a little.
hopefully the rumored response of "right after you demand payback from Occupy Boston" is true.
Off topic but I remember a "spokesperson" for Occupy saying they were going to donate money to the Greenway to pay for damages - was that ever done? I'd like to think they did and it just wasn't mentioned.
for the taxpayer money disappearing into the black hole known as the Greenway Conservancy? I can see Michlewitz is off to a great start.