Worcester City Council panel wants ‘smart grid’ delay

Posted: April 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

By Nick Kotsopoulos TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
nkotsopoulos@telegram.com

WORCESTER — A City Council subcommittee is calling for a one-year postponement in National Grid’s “smart grid” pilot program.

The three-member Public Service and Transportation Committee unanimously voted Wednesday night to ask National Grid, the state Department of Public Utilities and the city Zoning Board of Appeals to consider a one-year delay in the installation of any more smart meters and the construction of any communications towers associated with the program.

National Grid is scheduled to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals on May 5 for two petitions in which it is seeking zoning relief to erect a specialized communications tower at one of two sites in the Tatnuck Square area as part of the smart grid pilot program.

More than 35 people attended the committee hearing, with several voicing concerns about the smart grid program.

Their concerns focused on the impact to public health, privacy and security. People in the Tory Fort Lane area also objected to the siting of the proposed 80-foot-high communications towers, with a 10-foot-high antenna atop it, at the Cooks Pond substation.

Councilor-at-Large Morris A. Bergman said he fears the cost of the pilot program will lead to higher electricity costs for Worcester residents. That, in turn, will make Worcester a less attractive place for people to live.

“What bothers me is that we’re being subjected to (the smart grid program) in Worcester and that isn’t the case in other communities,” Mr. Bergman said. “We seem to be a guinea pig for a program that no one knows what the end result will be.”

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