SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Western Mass. Electric Company is coming under criticism for a planned move of one of its service centers.
WMECo plans to close its service center depot in Greenfield and move it to Route 9 in Hadley.
Twenty-five maintenance and support workers would be directly affected.
The move is not sitting well with the union which represents those workers who say service North of Greenfield will suffer.
“It’s just going to result in longer outages, by taking the service center out of that area the net result can’t be looked at any way other than longer hours for the customers being served by that area,” says Brian Kenney, Business Manager of IBEW Local 455.
However, Western Mass. Electric Company spokesperson Priscilla Ress says the move is being made for efficiency purposes.
“Northeast Utilities went through and did a complete review of all our facilities and found that Greenfield is under-utilized and therefore, they decided to take Greenfield and consolidate it with Hadley,” says Ress.
Union spokesman Brian Kenney also says customers are being shortchanged by the merger of Northeast Utilities and NSTAR last year.
“When the NSTAR/Northeast Utilities merger was okayed, they did promise that it would have a better return for the customer, but that’s not what we’re seeing,” Kenney adds.
“We are a larger company now. We have greater buying power. We have greater personnel, greater talents and resources to tap into,” Ress explains.
In the meantime, the union’s battle over the service depot move continues.
Brian Kenney says the next step is for the union to take its concerns to the Attorney General’s office and Department of Public Utilities.
Besides moving the service center depot from Greenfield to Hadley, WMECo is also moving its headquarters from the Springfield Technology Park to its service center on Cadwell Drive.
Those moves take effect next year.