National Grid Updates Council on Double Pole Issues

By Adam Swift

One of the long-running headaches and quality of life issues over the years for city councillors has been the proliferation of double utility poles in the city.

Many of those poles are jointly owned by National Grid and Verizon, but are also rented out to third parties, such as cable companies, for other uses. When new poles are installed, they are often left attached to the old poles, and it can take months, or even years, for the old utility poles to be removed.

“The double poles are one of the top five calls I get every week,” said Ward 6 Councillor Chris Giannino.

At Monday night’s council meeting, Keith Amelin of National Grid addressed some of the reasons why there have been delays in removing the old utility poles with third-party attachments. He also highlighted some of the steps National Grid is taking to address the issue, including hiring an oversight manager to track the requests and progress of the double pole removals in the National Grid database.

Amelin noted that one of the bigger holdups in removing the old poles is that there are still attachments on them, ranging from city street signs and traffic signal risers to municipal cable fiber that needs to be transferred from the old poles to the new ones before they can be removed.

Amelin said National Grid is willing to work with the DPW and the city to more efficiently remove those street signs so the transfers can be completed.

In addition, Amelin said that the two major cable providers in the city, Comcast and RCN/Astound, have been notified of transfers they have to make from the old poles to the new poles to speed up the removals of the old utility poles.

“They have been notified about the transfers they have to complete in the city, and we will be working in the next few weeks to get that completed in a timely manner,” said Amelin.

In addition, he said National Grid will be working with the city over the next several weeks to take care of any street sign, municipal fiber, and traffic signal issues to rectify the double-pole situations. In addition, he said the new database oversight manager should help the utility company more rapidly address and track the issues.

Several city councillors related their frustrations with getting the pole issues addressed, but were encouraged by National Grid’s efforts to hire a new oversight manager to address the issues.

“I know it is not always you, and we try to get the other agencies here at the same time, but at least we got you here finally,” said Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky.

Council President Anthony Cogliandro said the potential hiring of the database oversight manager was the best news he’s heard from National Grid in a long time.

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