Campground goes without power as electric company seeks upgrades

Campground goes without power as electric company seeks upgrades. (WJAR)

A Florida couple was looking forward to enjoying the summer on a Chepachet campground only to discover a day after arriving that the power was turned off.

“We were hoping that it was just one of those things you know that a pole went down or something like that,” Janice Guiou said.

Janice Guiou and her husband, Robert, arrived at the Bowdish Lake Camping Area in Chepachet last week. They were planning on staying in their camper until October, but last Friday the electricity was turned off on the entire 150-acre campground.

The owner of the campground, John Tillinghast, told NBC 10 National Grid shut off the electricity. According to National Grid documents Tillinghast provided to NBC 10, the campground is using more power than the electrical system can handle.

“They do not have enough power in their lines to give us the power we need single phase. So they want to break up our power into three phases,” Tillinghast said.

Tillinghast said he's been told he needs three times the power he's currently getting. The upgrade would require cutting down trees, not ideal for a campground, plus an unknown amount of money, according to Tillinghast.

“We have no idea how this is gonna play out,” he said. ”We're starting to get complaints about refunds and what are they gonna do? It's just turning into a disaster.”

National Grid said it couldn't comment because it's a customer related issue. A spokesman for the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities said an electrical engineer has been assigned to assess the situation. If the customer can make an adequate case for a need for a hearing, spokesman Tom Kogut said then the division will assign a hearing officer.

In the meantime, campers like Janice and Robert Guiou are left waiting it out, possibly in a hotel.

“We packed everything up today figuring we might have to. And since my husband's disabled and I'm retired, we're on a very fixed income and we paid for our seasonal spot here for the year,” Janice Guiou said.

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