Nartional Grid processing claims after outage shut down businesses

·3 min read

Jul. 19—NORTH ANDOVER — Four claims that were filed with National Grid following a power outage on Friday, June 10 have been approved so far, Town Manager Melissa Murphy-Rodrigues told the Select Board on Monday.

"I haven't heard the total number of claims filed, but will have more information on that at our next meeting," Murphy-Rodrigues said later. The next meeting of the Select Board is on Monday, Aug. 15 at 7 p.m.

The outage had been planned as part of work that National Grid was doing at the Avalon North Andover apartment building at 88 High St., but the company failed to warn other residents and businesses on High Street, who were therefore unprepared when they lost power.

Shimat Kamal, from National Grid's Customer and Community Management team, told the Select Board on June 27 that the incident was due to "system failure."

"That is National Grid's mistake," she said. "It was not in our mapping system. It did not show up that High Street was part of the outage."

One of the four businesses that had its claim settled was Good Day Cafe at 19 High St., which belongs to Gregg Lindsay, who said that he went home at 9 p.m. on June 10 and got a call from his landlord at 9:30 p.m. about the outage.

"It was supposed to be out for 12 hours, but we didn't know about it," Lindsay said. "I came down and saved what I could from the cooler."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that perishable food be thrown out four hours after refrigeration breaks down. Tavern on High, a neighboring business that wasn't affected by the power loss, invited Lindsay to keep some food in their cooler, but Lindsay still couldn't open the next day.

"Based on how things have gone the last few years, you get used to a it and we rolled with the punches," he said. "It took us Saturday and Sunday to get things thrown out and cleaned up. We reported what we had lost and got some more food and opened on our regular day, Tuesday."

Lindsay said the North Andover Merchants Association helped him find the forms that he needed to file with National Grid. Lindsay signed a confidentiality agreement with the company as part of his settlement.

"I would say National Grid responded," he said.

Murphy-Rodrigues said that Kamal had met with her staff, and that the town's legislative representatives have met with National Grid, "to make sure that claims are being processed correctly."

People can find a form at www.nationalgridus.com/Our-Company/Claim-Form, and Murphy-Rodrigues said her office is available to help with the process.

"If anyone does get a denial letter in the mail, just call and let me know and I'll direct them," Murphy-Rodrigues told the Select Board. "We had that happen once so far, and that's been fixed."

She said that most of the outages happened on the odd-numbered side of High Street, "but not entirely." Murphy-Rodrigues said that she had not been informed that any deadline had been set for the claims process, and she expects more to be filed.

"I do know that they appear to be processing claims rather quickly," she said.