Chilmark committee seeks $350k for electrical repairs

The electrical subpanel serving Chilmark's transient dock. An electrician recently recommended removing the mahogany decking of the dock for better access and to stop water intrusion. — Rich Saltzberg

Chilmark’s harbor advisory committee voted in favor of a $350,000 appropriation for about a third of the electrical infrastructure repairs anticipated in Menemsha. The request is intended to be included on the warrant for a Nov. 27 special town meeting.

The committee agreed that the major electrical work needed in Menemsha should be done in three phases. After holding a teleconference with Watertown electrician Rick Perry, the committee decided that the first phase should encompass cable work on the town’s transient dock and the panel and subpanel wiring connected to the dock.

Mr. Perry informed the committee after an inspection he recently conducted at the harbor that he has concluded that specialized cabling called mining cable that runs through the transient dock is wet because the dock doesn’t shed moisture properly. He said it must be not only replaced but upgraded. He recommended tearing up the dock’s mahogany decking to mitigate the moisture problem and to allow for better access to the “raceways,” a type of wire conduit, which he said also needed to be replaced.

Mr. Perry also pointed out that six cables have huge amounts of extra length, “300 feet per cable,” he said. Inspector of wires Cole Powers previously told The Times that cable slack, especially when it becomes coiled, is prone to creating magnetic fields and heat.

Mr. Perry recommended that the town hire an engineer to create a set of electrical schematics for the harbor. He said he reviewed Mr. Powers’ recommendations for harbor electrical improvements, and largely agreed with them.