More ‘NStar Follies’ Large and Small Should Finally Put Merger to Rest

At the heart of state reviews by both Massachusetts and Connecticut regulators into the proposed (Connecticut Light and Power parent) Northeast Utilities-NStar merger is how it would affect customer service. It can’t possibly get any worse. Last Halloween it was CL&P’s time to how incompetent and ill prepared it was to handle a storm. Now in Boston, it’s NStar’s turn to be arrogant and unbelievably cavalier in ways both large and small.

You may have heard that Boston’s Back Bay got its electrical power back at about 2:30 am this morning after a transformer fire throwing the busy part of the city into darkness Tuesday night. The mayor’s upset, the merchants are perplexed and the restaurant owners and workers are at a loss—literally. Residents and city officials say they were misled about restoration times or could get nothing from NStar at all. Sound familiar?

Which leads The Shad to a personal story. One to which I think others can relate. On March 5, I had stopped by my favorite convenient story heading into Boston. I parked up close so as not to struggle to get across the lot. Just as I opening the door to the store, I heard an awful crunching sound. The clerk and I stood there in disbelief. A mammoth NStar utility vehicle had backed into my Jeep. He then proceeded to drive away. It’s on the store surveillance. There were two witnesses. So you think there wouldn’t be a problem, right? Guess again.

I stepped into my whole personal NStar hell with a call to try to get the process of getting my Jeep fixed moving. Multiple calls back and forth with the “claims department” produced nothing but aggravation and frustration. The NStar representative said she could not confirm the incident happened. I found out later she had spoken multiple times to the owner of the store who told me he confirmed it had. She also said there were no fuel receipts or GPS records showing any truck was there. I don’t believe that for a second. We’re not talking about a man in a van with an extension cord hanging out the door. This was a state of the art industry monster. The Jeep is fixed. NStar now says “We’ll pay for it even though we don’t think we did anything.”

Why would a major, state-regulated utility fail to own up to what one of its drivers did? Because they can. They don’t give a damn about the customers. The very last thing we should do is to allow two of these behemoths to merge.

And oh, just to add insult to injury, the truck in question was parked diagonally across the handicapped parking spots before backing into my vehicle.