Paying for Power
To the editor:
Gas leaks from faulty lines not only cause explosions like the one in the Merrimack Valley a few years ago but also contribute to methane pollution, despite state policy requiring utility companies to fix leaks and seek alternative means of electricity production.
Last Friday, Eversource notified Provincetown officials that New England faces possible “controlled, rotating power outages” this winter because of insufficient or unreliable fuel supplies to generate electricity. In fact, a power outage occurred that same night, darkening buildings downtown for a short time.
This news comes as a $40-million battery facility nears completion at our town transfer station that will provide the four Outer Cape towns during outages with up to 10 hours of electricity in the winter and 3 hours in the summer.
Power outages here are caused mostly by wind damage to lines or failures of aged equipment. Not only does the battery expense seem outrageous, given the limited service improvement, but we are all paying for this extravaganza in our electric rates. Was burying power lines even considered?
Massachusetts has the third-highest average electric rates in the country at $21.11 per kilowatt hour, far above the national average of $13.31. Surely, we have the natural resources and technology expertise to improve efficiency, lower fossil-fuel consumption, and reduce costs. When will our government agencies stand up to utility company lobbying and protect consumers and the environment?
Extraordinarily high real estate prices are not the only factor driving our cost of living to number five in the nation, 32 percent over the average.
To the editor:
In his Jan. 13 letter, “Hidden History of Belvernon,” Patrick Nolan says Christine Legere’s article on Capt. L.D. Baker’s Wellfleet home (Jan. 6, page B7) left him “full of questions.” Fortunately, we at the Wellfleet Historical Society and Museum have lots of information about Baker and his business dealings.
A brief study of the story will show that, contrary to the implication in Mr. Nolan’s letter, L.D. Baker’s fruit enterprise had nothing to do with enslavement. Slavery was abolished in Jamaica in 1834, 47 years before the L.D. Baker Fruit Company was founded. Baker himself was concerned with lifting people up from the economic and ecological chaos that ensued with the end of British-run sugar plantations that employed slave labor.
It’s important, also, not to confuse Baker’s legacy in Jamaica with the United Fruit Company’s later conduct in Central America.
James Ferguson said it well in the April 2020 issue of Caribbean Beat: “The practices of the United Fruit Company were far removed from the paternalism of the stoutly Methodist Lorenzo Dow Baker, who even today is viewed by Jamaicans in a favorable light. According to the website jamaicaportantonio.com, ‘He believed that his financial success was only a fulfillment of God’s will, and that it was his duty and obligation to help those who lived in his winter and summer hometowns. In Jamaica, he built a hospital and many schools; paid decent wages and provided better living conditions for his local workers and their families.’ He was also a benefactor as well as an entrepreneur, in Wellfleet rebuilding the lightning damaged Methodist Church and opening a hotel that in summer he staffed with Jamaicans.”
We at the historical society are happy to answer questions whenever we can. Nothing is hidden.
The writer is curator of the Wellfleet Historical Society and Museum.
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