Eversource announces ‘conversation’ about undersea cables

In July, generators were brought to the Vineyard for Eversource. The generators were meant to help offset a failed undersea cable. — Rich Saltzberg

Eversource is planning to fix a faulty cable that provides electricity to Martha’s Vineyard and add a fifth undersea cable that will expand capacity for the Island’s growing needs, Andrea Burton, a project manager for Eversource, told The Times.

The cables will run from Falmouth to the Island, making landfall in Oak Bluffs at Eastville Beach and in Tisbury, Burton said. “There are four cables now, and the fourth one has faltered a few times, most recently right before President Obama’s birthday party,” she said. 

Eversource has a “community conversation” session on the project scheduled for Tuesday, May 3, from 5:30 to 7 pm at Chef Deon’s Kitchen/VFW at 14 Towanticut St., Oak Bluffs. Light refreshments will be served.

“There is no cash bar, no alcohol during our program,” Burton said. “After we leave, whatever people want to do, they can do. We’re using [that location] for catering purposes. I’ve heard Chef Deon is good.”

Beyond feeding people who show up, Eversource is looking for feedback. There will be maps and posters that show the locations of landfall, as well as technical information to show drilling, cables, and the underground process.

“We want to hear from residents,” she said, noting that previously Eversource has heard from folks about issues with a beach location. “We don’t want to upset people anymore. We don’t want to upset the beauty and landscaping of the beach. It’s important that people come out and let us know their concerns.”

Information will also be available in Portuguese for the Island’s Brazilian population, she noted.

“We want to dispel any rumors and allay any fears,” Burton said. “We can’t do that if we don’t know what people want or what they’ve heard. We take this very seriously.”

Plans are also underway to decommission and remove five diesel generators on the Island, which don’t really act as a backup anymore. It’s part of the utility’s efforts to “decrease our carbon footprint,” Burton said.

Along with information about the submarine cables, Burton said folks will also be able to get information about their bills, and assistance on payments for those who qualify. There is sometimes a “hesitancy or stigma” for people on the Island to ask for assistance, she said.

For more information on the community conversation, email Eversource at projectInfo@eversource.com, or call 800-793-2202.