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City Council Office
 Policy Order Resolution
  February 11, 2013

WHEREAS: Small business forms the backbone of our economy and it is important to support and encourage new and existing businesses to sustain their livelihood; and
WHEREAS: In an effort to ensure that existing electrical infrastructure in the City of Cambridge would be sufficient to support anticipated construction in areas such as Central and Kendall Squares, policy order 0-4 (June 4, 2012) called for the City Manager to meet with NSTAR company officials to find out what maintenance and replacement plans exist for the transformers and electrical systems that serve the city; and 

In his response to the City Council dated July 30, 2012, the City Manager report states that, "NSTAR is assured that they have the ability to supply the necessary power to Cambridge now and well into the future.  NSTAR gets their energy supply through the Independent Supply Operators of New England (ISO) which provide sources of electric generation from inside and outside the New England areas to assure that all electric distribution companies have adequate supply to meet their demands.  NSTAR has reviewed their needs based on future construction anticipated in Cambridge such as areas in Central and Kendall Squares and Northpoint, and are well on their way to make improvements in their distribution system to meet those needs. Areas North of Harvard Square may see some increase in demand but the existing distribution system for this area is adequate;" and 

WHEREAS: It has come to the attention of the Cambridge City Council that new businesses arriving to the Central Square area have been unable to obtain additional levels of electrical service that are necessary to fulfill their operational needs; and
WHEREAS: When asked about what processes would be necessary to enhance the electrical service provided to the area, NSTAR officials informed the new entrepreneurs that additional service could not be provided without undertaking a major infrastructure project to replace outdated transformers, a process that they speculated could take over a year to complete; and

The ability of new business owners to obtain access to the basic resources that they need - including electricity - is crucial to promoting future economic development throughout the City of Cambridge; and


Furthermore, on November 29, 2012, an estimated 17,000 NSTAR customers throughout the City of Cambridge were affected by a power outage that plunged large portions of the city  into darkness in the midst of rush hour as a result of a faulty relay signal experienced during the completion of upgrades to a transmission line; and

WHEREAS: As NSTAR makes crucial upgrades to existing infrastructure throughout the City of Cambridge, it is necessary that they are able to develop thoughtful and comprehensive emergency plans to ensure that outages of this nature are avoided at all costs, thereby maintaining the safety and well-being of local residents; now therefore be it  


That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to meet with NSTAR company officials to obtain current and predicted load data for the equipment and to establish a firm timeline for maintenance and replacement plans for the transformers and electrical systems that serve the city to ensure that local businesses and residential communities are fully serviced; and be it further 


That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to report back to the City Council as to what timeline for electrical infrastructure repair and replacement has been proposed to ensure that the City of Cambridge has the electrical power that it needs to grow and thrive.  

View Original Order
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