Flood Watch Issued For Belmont Until Monday Afternoon; Strong Winds Could Cause Outages

Photo: Be prepared: Strong winds could lead to power outages

The National Weather Service issued on Sunday, Dec. 10 a flood watch for central Middlesex county including Belmont that will remain in effect through Monday evening, Dec. 11.

Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations. Creeks and streams may rise out of their banks. Flooding may occur in poor drainage and urban areas. Storm drains and ditches may become clogged with debris.

The heavy rain will be accompanied by sustained south-southeast winds of 25 to 35 miles per hour with gusts of 30 to 50 miles per hour into Monday, with stronger gusts up to 70 mph along the coast.

In areas with the strongest wind gusts, scattered power outages are likely, and “trees and power lines, and numerous tree limbs could be downed,” according to the NWS. “Damage or blow away of poorly secured outdoor objects is expected.”



To text an outage report please text your message to with all the necessary information: Name, address, outage information. When reporting an outage, Belmont Light is encouraging customers to send imagery of any damages, infrastructure issues, and general community engagement.

Wednesday’s High Winds Create Outages In Belmont

Photo: Downed trees due to high winds are causing power outages this morning

Gusty winds are the cause of a number of moderate sized outages throughout Belmont on Wednesday morning, Sept. 30.

Belmont Light reported two distinct outage areas on the east and on the west side of town. One is located in and just to the south of Belmont Center while the other is in the Bright Road/Concord Avenue intersection.

Outage map of Belmont, Sept. 30.

“The outage on the west side of town was caused by a fallen tree on Concord Avenue,” reported the utility. It said customers in the Douglas and Gale area will be out longer as additional repairs are made.

Most customers in the Bright Road/ Baker Street neighborhood should have the lights back on by 9:30 a.m.

Belmont Superintendent John Phelan issued an email saying that the district was aware of a power outage impacting several neighborhoods in Belmont with power to be restored by approximately 10:30 a.m.

“The School Administration, principals, and teachers are aware of the inability of some students to access the internet due to these outages. Please know there is no culpability for students who are in this situation, and when power is restored, they can return to their classes,” said Phelan.

The National Weather Service issued a Wind Advisory early this morning that will last until 1 p.m. It said for residents of Eastern Massachusetts to expect southernly winds between 15 to 25 mph with gusts between 40 and 50 mph.

If you are experiencing an outage, CALL 617-993-2800

Belmont Light Schedule Power Outage In Belmont Village Area 5 AM Saturday

Photo: Out goes the lights … and air conditioning.
A small explosion on a piece of equipment on Friday afternoon, June 29 will require Belmont Light to cut power to homes in the Belmont Village neighborhood early Saturday morning, June 30.

According to Belmont Light’s Aidan Leary, “Due to an equipment failure today, we must execute a planned outage tomorrow beginning at 5 a.m., on the following streets:”

  • Thomas St.,
  • Shean Rd.,
  • Weber Rd.,
  • Pearson Rd.,
  • Bradley Rd.,
  • Gordon Ter. 
“We plan to have power restored to all customers by 10 a.m.,” said Leary. 

Power Outage 2.0: Tuesday’s Lights Out Set For 11 PM

Photo: Out goes the lights.

A wide swath of Belmont including Belmont Center to the Waverley Square neighborhood will experience a second “eclipse” in as many days.

But the blackout on   will occur when Belmont Light switches off the power to 67 streets as the municipal electrical utility starts the process of transferring the current electrical delivery system to one fed through the new Blair Pond substation which was commissioned earlier this summer. 

The streets impacted by the outage can be found here.

Belmont Fire and Police departments and other emergency service have been coordinating with the utility to ensure that the public’s safety will be met.

Call Belmont Light at 617-993-2800 with any concerns or questions.

Updates can be found at Belmont Light’s web page and on Facebook and its Twitter feed.

Wednesday Night’s Power Outage Set For Large Section Of Belmont

Photo: As Pat Travers would say, “Boom Boom, Out Goes the Lights.”

Get out the candles and flashlights; at least you know Wednesday night’s power outage is coming.

At 11 p.m. on Aug. 16, the lights – and television and everything depending on electricity – will be going out for up to an hour as Belmont Light, the town’s utility will begin the process of transferring the current electrical delivery system to one fed through the new Blair Pond substation. 

The streets that will be impacted by the outage can be found here.

The work required to connect the substation “has been carefully planned, and Belmont Light does not expect any complications to occur over the approximately one hour period of the outage,” according to a statement from Belmont Light.

Belmont Fire and Police departments and other emergency service have been coordinating with the utility to ensure that the public’s safety will be met.

Call Belmont Light at 617-993-2800 with any concerns or questions.

Updates can be found at Belmont Light’s web page and on Facebook and its Twitter feed.

Heat, Age Caused Transformer Explosion Blacking Out Belmont

Photo: (from left) Belmont Light’s Jim Palmer, Belmont Selectmen’s Chair Jim Williams and Selectman Adam Dash at the emergency meeting of the Belmont Board of Selectmen to discuss the June 12 blackout.

The timing of the widespread power outage that affected between a quarter to a third of town residents during the hottest day of the year “was like our worst nightmare,” said James Palmer, general manager of Belmont Light, as he spoke to an emergency meeting of the Board of Selectmen held at Town Hall on Tuesday, June 13,

Palmer said a 90 degree plus afternoon in June when electrical demand had peaked with the town schools in session limited how the municipal utility could attack the equipment failure at one of the aging substations in town, requiring Belmont Light to rush in mobile generators to get the lights back on.

“We really had no other choice,” said Palmer.

The meeting, called by Selectmen Chair Jim Willams, brought the chiefs of police and fire, department heads to discuss their response to the incident and any further impact of the large-scale outage that left some neighborhoods without power for nearly 10 hours.

Highlights of the meeting

  • The town’s and the utility’s contingency plans developed to meet such an emergency received relatively good scores from town officials, said acting Town Administrator Phyliss Marshall. “I think I can honestly say that … we are very well prepared [for incidents such as these],” said Police Chief Richard McLaughlin.                     
  • It was the heat and the age of the equipment that lead to the single transformer in the Hittinger substation to “explode,” said Palmer. Luckily, the transformer did not catch fire due to safety systems that worked as a circuit breaker and cut off the electricity entering the substation. Had a fire started, the impact of a subsequent oil-based fire would have stretched fire resources and would have likely created havoc for months for the Light Department.
  • Three generator trucks were used to supplement the utility’s substation until repairs were completed. It’s suspected the cost of renting the trucks from Sunbelt from Hyde Park will be covered by insurance. 
  • Belmont Superintendent John Phelan and Belmont High School staff and educators decided to end the school day around 1:20 p.m. since power was not expected to be re-established until after the end of the scheduled classes. Students at the Chenery and Winn Brook who also lost power were kept in their buildings for the remainder of the day for safety and logistic reasons.
  • The Chenery Middle School was closed on Tuesday as a 400 amp transfer switch on the school’s backup generator malfunctioned, despite passing inspection just two weeks previous. According to Fire Chief David Frizzell, this switch has a tendency to act erratically if not used regularly. When he reinspected it Tuesday morning, Frizzell said it was working as expected. But the switch is now scheduled to be replaced.

Chenery Closed Tuesday Due To After Effects Of Monday’s Power Outage

Photo: Schools out for … June 13.

Chenery Middle School will be closed Tuesday, June 13 due to the impact of yesterday’s power outage on the building’s backup generator.

In an email to middle school parents and guardians, Belmont Superintendent John Phelan said that after consulting with the Belmont Fire Department “there is a concern the backup generator at the Chenery is not within the state safety regulations.”  

“Therefore, the school will not be in session on Tuesday, June 13th for Chenery students,” he said.

Phelan warned the school community there is “a possibility that this process may take more than one school day” to bring the generator up to Fire Department muster. He said he would keep adults, students, and educators updated throughout the day.

In the one bit of good news for parents and kids is that the “cancelled day of school will NOT be added to the end of the school, per Department of Elementary and Secondary Education policy,” said Phelan.

“The last day of school for all students, including Chenery students, remains Wednesday, June 21.”

Equipment Failure Turns Off the Lights To 2K Belmont Light Customers Into The Dark

Photo: A Belmont Light equipment truck stationed at the Hittinger substation during the outage.

Worcester Street’s Hannah Liberty decided Monday morning that getting on a crowded MBTA bus with a mob of sweaty, miserable commuters on the hottest day of the year was not something she was going to do this Monday morning.

Liberty called her job and told them she would work from home which would include taking a three-hour business call from Seattle, all inside her air conditioned house.

“I thought that was a good idea,” she said.

By 1:30 p.m., Liberty was sitting on the second floor of the Belmont Public Library, laptop and phone in hand, as she prepared for the West Coast call.

“About an hour ago, my lights suddenly went out so no air conditioning and no internet,” said an aspirated Liberty, as she sat next to a pair of chatty high schoolers, not the optimum location to take an important call.

“It turned out to be a mistake not to head off to work,” she said. 

Liberty and thousands of other residents found themselves scrambling for a cool place and a connection to the web when around 12:30 p.m., Monday, June 12, a transformer failure at the Hittinger Street substation created a major power outage in large sections of Belmont.

According to Belmont Light spokesperson Aidan Leary, intense heat – the high in Belmont hit 94 degrees – a spike in demand, as well as aging infrastructure were all contributing factors to the equipment failure.

Approximately 2,000 of Belmont Light’s 11,250 customers were without electric service when the outage started, including Belmont High School, Chenery Middle School, and the Winn Brook Elementary School.

Belmont High students were released for the remainder of the day after it since power would not be restored until late afternoon.

When the severity of the outage was known, Belmont Light’s operations team activated its contingency plan, which included implementing a temporary generation protocol to restore power and ensure that the electrical delivery system would be able to handle all demand going forward, said Leary. 

A Belmont Light equipment truck was stationed at the Hittinger substation, where it was joined by four white SUVs from American Electrical Testing Co. of Foxboro. The firm is known for its array of transformer services.  

Belmont Light restored power to about half of the impacted customers within two hours. By 7 p.m., power had been restored to another 500 customers. The remaining 500 customers in the southeast corner of Belmont along the border with Cambridge were back online by 10 p.m. 

Several residents asked the Belmontonian why the Hittinger substation is in use since the new Blair Pond substation – built to replace the three smaller transmission and distribution structures at Hittinger Street, at the former Light Department Headquarters on Concord Avenue and adjacent to the Chenery Middle School – was commissioned in May. 

Leary said while the new substation located on Flanders Road off Brighton Street is energized, the Master Plan created by Belmont Light to meet future demand calls for the electrical load to be routed through the three older facilities until they are decommissioned in a couple of years.

In addition to the major blackout, there were intermittent outages throughout Belmont as the hot weather caused demand to spike and the system was stretched to its capacity.

Belmont Light will continue to investigate the cause of Monday’s outage and inspect equipment, said Leary.

With Wind Advisory in Effect, Outages In the Mix

With the National Weather Service issuing a wind advisory for Belmont and eastern Massachusetts that will last until 6 p.m. on Sunday, the chances climb a branch or tree will fall across the power wires that supplies your abode.

If the power does go out, those effected should call Belmont Light at 617-993-2800.

Belmont Police and Fire departments said residents should only call 911 for true emergencies.