To the Editor:
When the town of Hull loses electrical power due to a weather event, we are all in this together.
There is a base level of service that should be provided by Hull Light. That base level includes power throughout winter storms. That has not been provided over the last few years. The cause and the source have been identified. The major roadblocks to resolving this problem have also been identified. 1) Who is responsible, and what is considered proper management of the Hingham substation? 2) While that is litigated, who will pay for a “work-around” to ensure electrical power is restored within a reasonable time frame when a weather event occurs?
Until those issues are resolved legally, the goal must be a work-around strategy to ensure that the entire town does not lose power for days. The backup generators that the town leased last winter are a solution.
The generators restore a base level of service. The cost for this level of service is appropriately shared by all ratepayers.
In a better world, this would not have gone on year after year, creating an environment where townspeople could not depend on their utility to provide power. In a better world, the town manager and the Select Board would have orchestrated both a long-term solution and a short-term/immediate solution. In a better world, townspeople would have joined together, petitioned the board and the town manager, and pressured our town government relentlessly until a solution had been implemented. Good, active, participatory government exists to solve problems like these.
We all failed in our roles. This world is not the better world. We are all overextended, overworked, and under-resourced.
We need government, elected and appointed officials, and townspeople to be responsive when an emergency arises. And when an effective, temporary solution is determined, the financial cost of that solution must be shared by all the ratepayers. As a community, we should encourage “opting in” by everyone.
We all benefit when electrical power is restored. Our neighborhoods are safer; driving or walking our streets is safer. Our neighbors are safer; they can turn on the heat again; they can make meals again; they can wash and clean up again; they can move around their homes; they can just sit and be comfortable. Our town is safer because we have recognized the importance of taking care of one another and providing basic needs to all.