SCITUATE, Mass. (AP) — Tens of thousands of Massachusetts residents were without electricity Monday in the aftermath of a fierce weekend blizzard, and one utility came under criticism for leaving customers in the dark about when their power might come back.
Residents around the state who returned to work and other daily activities for the first time since the storm crawled along narrow snow-covered secondary roads and were greeted by a mix of sleet and freezing rain. Boston announced that it would keep schools closed again Tuesday, as did many other school districts.
The storm dropped up to 30 inches of snow in some parts of the state and lashed the coast with hurricane-force wind gusts and a damaging storm surge.
U.S. Rep. William Keating, who represents Cape Cod and South Shore communities, said constituents were frustrated by what they viewed as a lack of communication from NStar. He claimed the utility failed to share information about its timetable for power restoration, other than to say it would take several days.
Keating, who's been without power in his own Bourne home since Friday, praised the line crews, who he said were doing "hard work in bad weather," but said residents, including those who were considering leaving their homes for shelters, were only looking for some idea of when repairs might be made.
"They are making very difficult decisions about what to do for their safety and for their family," Keating said.
NStar spokesman Mike Durand said the utility has been getting generally positive comments on its communications, but it will take a look after the storm to review their procedures.
"The feedback we've been getting by and large from the communities is that the communications have been working quite well," he said. "We understand there is always room for improvement."
NStar was reporting 34,440 outages early Tuesday. National Grid said 11,687 of its customers were without power. Outages were at about 100,000 on Monday.
About 50 people remained at a shelter set up at Scituate High School, as much of that town was still in the dark. Ann and Richard Brown, married 65 years, spent the last three nights sleeping on side-by-side cots at the shelter. By Monday afternoon, they were missing the comforts of home.
"It's disrupting when you're older," said Ann Brown, 88. "You've got to be careful to keep your spirits up."