O.B. installs juice box

A new electrical panel on the Oak Bluffs waterfront is causing a stir. - Rich Saltzberg

Updated May 29

With Memorial Day approaching, the Island was busy decorating itself with flags in Chilmark, bunting in Edgartown, and an electric panel in Oak Bluffs.

On Friday, electricians were busy installing a 10-foot electrical panel in front of Nancy’s near the harbor. In a conversation with The Times, Oak Bluffs selectmen chair Brian Packish said his phone had been ringing off the hook all morning with complaints and inquiries into what exactly the metal box was.

“We’re going to have to find out more about it, get a better understanding,” Packish said. “I just don’t know.”

Packish added that the box was to power a portion of the harbor. He wasn’t sure why it was so large, but said it is most likely the code requirement.

Town administrator Bob Whritenour said the old, nonfunctioning electrical panel had to be replaced with a new one, which cost around $40,000.

Harbormaster Todd Alexander could not immediately be reached for comment.

At Tuesday’s selectmen’s meeting, the board was in agreement that the box was too big and needed to be changed.

“Isn’t it consensus that it doesn’t have to be that big?” Selectman Mike Santoro asked.

“Yeah, it seems to be slightly larger than it needs to be,” Packish said.

Packish and Whritenour spoke with electrical inspector Jim Rogers, electrician Cole Powers, and Alexander to weigh design options to make the box less imposing.

Selectman Gail Barmakian asked if the box could be removed and put somewhere else.
“You have to have a box there,” selectman Jason Balboni said. “It’s going to be like $250,000 to have no box there.”

Updated with comments from Tuesday’s selectmen’s meeting.