Eversource Close to Activating Provincetown Backup Battery System

PROVINCETOWN – Provincetown officials recently met with Eversource representatives to discuss the town’s battery project as inclement weather continues to compromise the area’s electric infrastructure.

With the late-January blizzard that left many without power still a recent memory, officials and residents were concerned about the timetable for the project meant to help prevent such challenges. 

Community Relations and Economic Development Specialist with Eversource Ronit Goldstein said the company always works hard to communicate with municipalities and Barnstable County ahead of storms, but restoration work can be hard due to sustained winds or road conditions.

She also said that in any outage scenario, public safety and clearing roads is the priority for Eversource so emergency services can get through, with power restoration coming in second as the roads are made safe enough to perform work.

The ten-hour battery would be able to help mitigate outages while work is conducted, said Goldstein. 

Provincetown officials asked how recent outages brought on by storms in October, December and January may have been affected by an earlier introduction of the battery system.

Manager of Distribution System Engineering for Eversource’s Cape Cod branch John Ventura said that both storm events that occurred in October and December of last year would have benefited from the battery, with outages drastically reduced and most customers only experiencing a slight dip in voltage while the system transitioned onto the auxiliary.

Despite different circumstances, namely high winds and packed snowfall, he said that the battery also would have been of some assistance during late-January’s blizzard.

“Provincetown would have gone on battery right away and that would have isolated the fault to a very small area and given our crews a better chance at responding,” said Ventura. 

Ventura added that white-out conditions and high winds still presented tough challenges for repair crews during the blizzard, so some localized issues may have been unavoidable. 

Officials traced much of Provincetown’s outage issues to the outer Cape’s 96 Circuit which brings electricity to the area, and has often been taken offline by storms.

The battery system would provide power to the region while repairs could be made to the circuit. 

Ventura said that the system is largely complete except for the commissioning phase, and can hopefully be finalized by the summer.

Other infrastructure upgrades being added may also be able to reroute power around downed wires and broken poles entirely, further reducing outages in the future, said Eversource representatives. 

“The two circuits in Provincetown are actually the worst performing for us in all of Southeastern Massachusetts. Unfortunately, folks have lived it, we’ve seen it, that’s what justified the project. And we’re confident that once this is up and running, the experience will be much different for the residents of Provincetown and Truro,” said Ventura. 

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.

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