Planned Service Interruption Frequently Asked Questions
While many of the improvements we perform on our electric system are done safely while the system is live, at times it is necessary for us to temporarily interrupt electric service. We sometimes refer to these interruptions as "planned service interruptions," "permit outages" or "scheduled outages."
At NSTAR we understand that no one likes to be without electric service, and we thank our customers for their patience and understanding while we make improvements. Here are some answers to questions you may have about a scheduled service interruption.
How will I know if I'm going to have a planned service interruption?
In advance of a planned service interruption, NSTAR will contact all customers, either by letter or phone, who will be impacted informing them of the date, approximate time and duration of the interruption.
How long will my power be out?
The duration of scheduled outages varies from project to project, but the estimated start and end times reflect the approximate time needed to perform work for that particular project.
A neighbor down the street received information about a scheduled service interruption but the times were different. Why is this?
NSTAR’s electric circuits are designed on a grid system, and not on a street by street basis. Given the complexity of our system, it is not unusual to interrupt service to customers located on the same street at different times. And for some customers we may only have to interrupt service momentarily at the beginning of our work, and then again at the end of the job.
Why don't I see NSTAR employees working on my street?
Work can occur on circuits located several streets away that feed your home or business. System improvement work can also occur at nearby NSTAR substations.
Does NSTAR often have to reschedule this work?
Approximately 90 percent of the time, NSTAR performs work on the scheduled date and time indicated on the letter you should have received via U.S. mail. We may have to postpone work for a few reasons including severe weather, illegally parked vehicles blocking access to our equipment, or our crews need to be redeployed to a system emergency.
Why did the work take longer than planned?
Our goal when we make improvements to our system is to do them as safely and efficiently as possible. When we have to interrupt our customers’ service to make repairs we are especially sensitive to getting your lights back on at the time we communicated.
The time required to complete our improvements, occasionally, can take longer than we expected because engineering or equipment installations reveal last-minute, unexpected challenges. This is especially true when conducting work in urban areas on our underground system.
If we estimate that the service interruption will take slightly longer, NSTAR may make a judgment call to extend a service interruption beyond the stated timeframe in order to avoid another scheduled service interruption. However, this is an infrequent occurrence.
I experienced a service interruption and didn't receive a letter ahead of time. Why is this?
You most likely experienced an unplanned service interruption. Leading causes of this type of interruption include bad weather, an automobile hitting a pole or another piece of equipment, fallen tree limbs, equipment malfunction or even rodents or other animals interfering with electric equipment.