The future is here

Thu, 03/28/2019 - 9:00pm

Block Island has been exerting some of its old-fashioned independence during these opening months of 2019. The first municipally-owned high-speed internet service in the state amped up earlier this month, and just this week the Block Island Utility District acquired the assets of the once privately-owned Block Island Power Company. This move turned control of the company — and its future — over to its ratepayers. These ratepayers, home and business owners on Block Island, now have a voice in how the utility is run.

The two events are closely aligned. Old, dried out utility poles co-owned by the power company are now being replaced, in part to accommodate the wiring for the community anchor institutions internet service, and in part because some of the poles are so dilapidated that a mere bump from a mower can splinter and topple them. Utility Company President Jeffery Wright has been pro-active in letting customers know about planned outages, and the tree trimming program, designed to cut away limbs that interfere with the distribution network, has done a great deal to keep power flowing throughout the year.

Local control was a huge selling point when the question of whether or not to purchase two-thirds of the power company stock went before the voters in 2016. There have been many bumps in the road getting to this point, and a lot of extraordinary work has gone into both projects, but here we are.

The future is ours.