• Bob OBrien

Merrimack Valley Tragedy – lots of concerns

That this event even occurred and residents / families were harmed is beyond tragic. Many different points of view have been rendered – from inadequate safety, to labor squabbles, to lax company management, to future ‘greener’ alternatives (attached CommonWealth Magazine article) and even to negligence. Lots of finger pointing, many delays encountered in schedules or just nonsensical schedules(?), and everybody in positions of power – public and private feel badly.

But, where is the oversight of the utilities and who is responsible for ensuring the safety of residents and businesses? It is a travesty that private company utility owners can make a large profit and not be responsible for maintaining their ‘factories’ – the pipes and wires - and at the same time enrich their management. If you are a business that owns a factory – you invest in it, maintain it, and insure it in order to stay in business. But utilities don’t have to invest in their own grid prior to it failing in some way? Older cities with older grid infrastructures are becoming potentially scary places.

Government can control the rates that utilities charge customers – effectively impacting their revenues and the pass through customers costs. Can’t those same entities that set the utility rates also look under the covers and see where the spending goes and at least ensure that there is adequate investment in the infrastructure – profit factories? Or just will they choose to just wait again until a post facto investigation of catastrophe / death is warranted? That same behavior would actually be the definition of insanity. We have plenty of government employees and costs already in place - can they begin behaving preemptively for a change? We have not seen these 'leaders' on the front line talking about what innovations in oversight they have implemented, just the high ranking headliners - public and private.

Show a little innovation and preemptive oversight for a change rather than performing under the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and just expecting different results.


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