Crews from Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH) have been busy installing new cable on North Main Street, adjacent to Pinkerton Academy.
Michael Skelton, a spokesperson for the utility, said this week that crews are installing new cable along existing lines. It is routine maintenance, Skelton said, designed to improve reliability.
The replacement is not directly connected with the ice, wind and snowstorms that have plagued New Hampshire for the past few years, Skelton said. When power lines go down, that’s not the cable’s fault – it’s the fault of the tree that fell on it. “No commercially-available cable line is able to withstand a tree falling on it,” he said.
But the newer lines will make the cable more reliable for daily use, he added. He wrote in an e-mail, “However, by adding a new line, the system will be more extensive and robust, which means when damage to the system does occur, there is an opportunity for fewer customers to be impacted.”
Skelton wrote, “The work on North Main Street is part of a $1 million project to construct a new circuit (or line) from the Scobie Pond substation. This follows the rebuild of the Scobie substation in 2011. The old substation was subject to lots of animal-related outages and impacted services to downtown Derry. This project adds another line out of the substation which, along with the previous substation improvements, will make the Greater Derry system more robust, and will improve reliability for area residents.”
Skelton said this is a multi-week project, involving the setting of 40 to 50 new poles.
Few Power Outages From Friday’s Heavy Winds
Derry Fire Chief George Klauber credits the stepped-up maintenance efforts of Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH) for the relatively short time Derry households were without power this past Friday.
Klauber said in a phone interview, “There were a number of power outages, but they were all relatively minor, and most were back on within an hour.”
The longest outage was on Pond Road, with 36 customers, and took “a few hours” to restore, he said.
Klauber said the damage to wires was all from limbs, not from complete trees. No roads were blocked except for work by utility trucks, he added.
The windstorm affected 30 homes on Warner Hill Road, the 36 on Pond Road, and households on Birchwood Drive, Gordon Road, Walnut Hill, Old Chester Road and a small portion of Kendall Pond Road, he said. At the peak, 130 homes were without power.
Some of the outages were not necessarily from wires down, Klauber said, but from short-outs, which simply required a flip of the switch at the transformer.
He gave high grades to PSNH, which supplies the majority of Derry households. The utility began aggressively working on response to outages after the ice storm of 2008, when they “did a horrible job,” according to Klauber, emergency management director for Derry. The utility responded to criticism and began more preventive measures, cutting back trees and maintaining cable.
“They did a good job – they listened to the towns,” Klauber said. And the townspeople listened to PSNH, he said, adding, “In the past, they were not willing to let the utility companies trim back the trees.”