1970s: Expansions, improvements and reliability

1970sThe rapidly increasing price of fuel oil in the 1970s caused some Braintree citizens to question the value of a municipal electric system. Yet once again, as in 1891, a study committee appointed by Town Meeting voters could not ignore the obvious advantages of a town-owned utility. The committee concluded that liquidating the Electric Light Department "would not be of material long-term economic benefit to the majority of townspeople." The committee based its findings on several key points. They found the Electric Light Department had added some $13 million to the town's assets at no cost to the taxpayer. In addition, it had been a source of income. Other assets included Braintree's proximity to large supplies of fuel and high-voltage transmission lines, an ample supply of cooling water from the river, and a location in an industrial area sufficiently large to install an adequate generating station. Instead of selling the Department, townspeople supported the installation of the largest, most efficient unit possible in order to meet the community's power needs for the next decade.

1970sIn 1973, Town Meeting voters approved a $20 million bond issue for the Electric Light Department to install a new generating unit at the Potter Station. Inflationary trends, price escalations, project delays and additional considerations required an additional $2 million approved in March 1976. Potter II station, the largest project ever undertaken by the town, went on-line on April 1, 1977. Two high-capacity interties with the New England network provided the town with the ability to transmit all of its own generation over these lines, and to receive, if necessary, all of its power requirements from outside facilities.

 

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