Resident: Unitil doing the best it ca...

Resident: Unitil doing the best it can after the storm - Sentin...

There are 34 comments on the Sentinel & Enterprise story from Dec 17, 2008, titled Resident: Unitil doing the best it can after the storm - Sentin.... In it, Sentinel & Enterprise reports that:

I would first like to say up front that I am a former employee of Unitil/FGE, leaving in 2005 for reasons of career expansion.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Sentinel & Enterprise.

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Thank Unitil

Lake Oswego, OR

#24 Dec 19, 2008
Are you kidding me? Seriously.... that is akin to thanking a surgeon who botched a surgery because he was in a hurry to get to the golf course.
Unitil is a horrible company that charges criminal rates and provides substandard service in return. Their response to this situation has been disgusting. As a Unitil customer I am still without service, while my conterparts in Leominster, who have National Grid, were up and running in a matter of a couple days. And National Grid customers pay less for their service, 30% less by most estimates.

“I'm a Fitchburger and Proud ”

Since: Jan 08

Fitchburg ( of course)

#25 Dec 19, 2008
shfkjhfk wrote:
I love Unitil!
You must have stock in the company or suffer from some unnamed brain fever. You are the exception that proves the rule. Everyone hates Uniswill.
F Unitil

United States

#26 Dec 19, 2008
That's funny, another UNITIL employee that lives on Barker Hill Rd in Townsend had his power back on Sunday too...HMMM
Must have been nice Mr. Newton to direct the first crews to your street while you stick it to the rest of the town.. Hope you're nice and warm while you laugh at the rest of us.
Anon

Revere, MA

#27 Dec 19, 2008
We pay higher rates to Unitil for the same electricity that everyone else has. We also have no choice in the matter. We should get SOMETHING for that. Like a higher level of service than the next guy or something.
Whatever the percentage is that we pay more than National Grid customers should be that percentage faster Unitil customers get their power on. Instead, they dragged their feet.
Last summer I called about a possible gas leak...it took days for them to come and check it out. They're awful. They contribute nothing to the City of Fitchburg.
Yes, the storm was awful. Yes, there are still customers with other providers that do not have power still. At least National Grid seems to care and have a fire lit up under them to see things through. If it were up to Unitil alone, we probably would still not see a single truck in Fitchburg.
Lunenburg Republican
#28 Dec 19, 2008
I should start by saying that in my 50+ yrs (34 in the utility business)this is the worst ice storm I've ever seen.That being said Unitil still has failed all of its Massachusetts customers miserably. This has nothing to do with Mayor Wong nor does it have anything to do with the field workers from Unitil and the contracted crews working for them. The four P's are the problem here. Pi** poor prior planning along with the inability and or stubborness of calling the other local utilities for help soon enough are the issue. If you notice the only crews around at the beginning of the storm were contracted crews from IC Reed. This is the contractor that Unitil uses on a regular basis to subsidize their own workforce. In the mid nineties there were 20-25 lineman and many other employees (supervisors, meter technicians, gas distribution workers and meter readers) who were experienced enough to help in any electrical crisis. Now they have less than 10 linemen (healthy ones). Keep in mind also that the crews from Reed are alot cheaper than mobilizing 30 other utility company trucks from other utilities. When does the cost of the restoration affect the bottom line in a small company?(Its cheaper to work slower with less than turning the juice on with more).The power started going out on Thursday evening and that is where the ball was dropped. They should have immediately called the other utilites and asked how many crews they could borrow. As you have seen in the paper by the time they got to this point there evidently wasn't a crew available from Maine. Connecticut, New Jersey, New York or Vermont that wasn't already going somewhere else. Thats why the Pennsylvania crews and Ohio crews were called.

The cats out of the bag on this storm and its obvious the resources aren't readily available to expedite the repairs. I've come up on many a crew here rolled down the window and almost all the crews are geographically challenged with no supervisory personnel helping them. Many are working out a map book and the last time I looked there were no electrical drawings in the map book. The bottom line is Unitil is too small to do the job when something catastrophic like this incident takes place. Economies of scale are at work here. Yesterday afternoon National Grid had 80 line crews just in Westminster and Gardner. These crews were supervised and most of the jobs they were getting had already been looked at, trees had been cleared and directions had been given. Unitil had 3 line crews in Lunenburg unsupervised, doing their own tree work. Its time for Unitil to bow out gracefully and sell to a larger utility with local professional help. The mantra there was always if we're going to be the most expensive then we have to be the best in customer service. That doesn't seem to have been the case here.
Hanging in there

Lawrenceburg, KY

#29 Dec 19, 2008
I Doubt it wrote:
Dear Mr. Whittier,
UNITIL is not doing the best they can! They need more crews in the field. However, the only people that will come in and help UNITIL is Henkels and McCoy, Referred to in the Industry as "Crinkle and Destroy" All other contractors REFUSE to work for UNITIL because they won't pay the going rate. Henkels and McCoy do the same quality work as UNITIL. Which is well below industry standards.
Wow. I hadn't heard that...but it sure makes sense! Unitil/FG&E certainly have not had a good reputation.
Wife of Unitil Worker

Plainville, CT

#30 Dec 20, 2008
My husband works for Unitil and I have not seen him since last Thursday. You may not have to like Unitil. I even agree about the maintenance issues as well as laying off and/or not replacing employees to deal with situations like these.
There was no preferential treatment for power...my two small children and I didn't have mine until Friday AM. These guys are working around the clock with people cursing at them and even throwing things at them. Blame the actual company, not the workers. I most likely will not see my husband for Christmas, so maybe someone being nice to him might actually cheer him up...no one said he had to like the company either.

Since: Oct 08

Berlin, MA

#31 Dec 21, 2008
type slower wrote:
<quoted text>
If you are the same person from another post I think you have other problems with your power than the rest of us. Wednesday it was like 70 degrees and not raining/snowing/sleeting.
It was the Wednesday AFTER the storm buddy. READ SLOWER.

Since: Oct 08

Berlin, MA

#32 Dec 21, 2008
Wife of Unitil Worker wrote:
My husband works for Unitil and I have not seen him since last Thursday. You may not have to like Unitil. I even agree about the maintenance issues as well as laying off and/or not replacing employees to deal with situations like these.
There was no preferential treatment for power...my two small children and I didn't have mine until Friday AM. These guys are working around the clock with people cursing at them and even throwing things at them. Blame the actual company, not the workers. I most likely will not see my husband for Christmas, so maybe someone being nice to him might actually cheer him up...no one said he had to like the company either.
That's terrible. I would never swear or throw things at them. That is just childish and cruel. I hope that you get to spend Christmas with your husband. All the best!
Fitchburg

Gardner, MA

#33 Dec 22, 2008
Wife of Unitil Worker wrote:
My husband works for Unitil and I have not seen him since last Thursday. You may not have to like Unitil. I even agree about the maintenance issues as well as laying off and/or not replacing employees to deal with situations like these.
There was no preferential treatment for power...my two small children and I didn't have mine until Friday AM. These guys are working around the clock with people cursing at them and even throwing things at them. Blame the actual company, not the workers. I most likely will not see my husband for Christmas, so maybe someone being nice to him might actually cheer him up...no one said he had to like the company either.
I hope you know that we are not blaming the workers we are blaming upper managment and out Mayor, your husband has a hard job and its probably harder than we know working for management like the one he's under, we are thankful for people like your husband and all the other men working long hours to get our power restored, we are frusterated as it is day 12 and still no power, I do hope that your husband makes it home for the holidays and is rested please know that we support the workers and without them this would never go away. God Bless your family and Merry Christmas.
type slower

Nonantum, MA

#34 Dec 23, 2008
Nitroade wrote:
<quoted text>
It was the Wednesday AFTER the storm buddy. READ SLOWER.
Are you kidding me, you need to actually read before you respond...on Wednesday (the 17th) someone said they had lost power for a full week (which would be from Wed the 10th) The ice storm happened on December 11th, a THURSDAY. So anyone who lost power on the 10th when it was not snowing or raining or cold...they have other issues with their electricity.
type slower

Nonantum, MA

#35 Dec 23, 2008
Maurice Ronaldo - Mo Ron wrote:
<quoted text>
THINK SLOWER!
Today is Wednesday and it has been snowing and it is 29 degrees F.
And the person said they lost power the previous Wednesday...read and think before you type.
Sharon from Fitchburg

Fitchburg, MA

#36 Dec 24, 2008
I only had to wait 11 days!!!! If that is the best they can do, they should lower their rates.

“I'm a Fitchburger and Proud ”

Since: Jan 08

Fitchburg ( of course)

#37 Dec 25, 2008
Last month I actually used 12 dollars worth of gas and 15 DW of electric. My total bill came out to over 100$. Ludicrous, Ridiculous, Criminal!

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