Groups accuse National Grid of treating Providence unfairly by not burying power lines

PROVIDENCE – National Grid has buried power lines in Middletown, Smithfield and Westerly, but the utility has long resisted doing the same across India Point Park in Providence. 

Proponents of moving the wires underground in the waterfront park say the disparate treatment comes down to demographics. In the places where National Grid has buried lines, the resident populations are mostly white and poverty levels are low. In Providence, minorities outnumber white people and a quarter of the population is poor. 

“It’s pretty dramatic. They had no problem doing it in these other places,” said David Riley, co-chairman of Friends of India Point Park.   

The charge of discrimination is just the latest accusation lobbed at National Grid by Riley’s group and others who have been fighting for the burial project for the past 19 years and believe it would remove an eyesore, enhance property values, and boost economic development in the capital city. 

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