ABC: State representative drafts legislation to eliminate National Grid

ABC6 News, 11/3/2017,

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WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) -- The majority of Rhode Islanders are back on the grid but many are unhappy with National Grid‘s response to the storm. So much so that a State Representative is coming up with a plan to eliminate the company altogether.

According to National Grid, by 1 p.m. Friday, they had restored power for 99% of Rhode Island customers who lost it in Sunday's storm. But some places went nearly 5 days in the dark.

Neighbors on Danforth Street in Warwick have mixed feelings today, happy the lights are back on but angry it took National Grid 5 days to get the job done.

“I don’t think there’s any excuse for it. And as a matter of fact, the fix that they did, the temporary fix, only took them 40 minutes and now everybody has power after 5 days for a 40 minute fix, there’s no excuse for that," says Paul Brisson.

It’s reactions like his that are prompting a State Rep to propose legislation that would get rid of National Grid and switch to a locally owned public power utility. 

“We can empower our communities to transfer authority from a billionaire CEO and shareholders thousands of miles away to locally owned, not for profit institutions that are directly accountable to the communities that they serve," says State Representative Aaron Regunberg.

When asked about this proposal, a National Grid spokesperson said their main focus continues to be on getting power back up and running for everyone, and stressed that they’ve had more than 675 crews working around the clock.

That effort not enough for some neighbors, who are on board with the proposal if the cities can handle the burden.

“We need more response than what we’re getting from National Grid so handing it over wouldn’t be a bad idea at this point," says Brisson.

This idea is already being used in some major U.S. cities and even here in Rhode Island, in Block Island and parts of Burrillville.

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