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Putnam Avenue Substation Project

With the demand for electricity growing in Cambridge, Eversource is installing additional equipment at its existing Putnam Avenue Substation to enhance the electric system and continue to reliably deliver electricity to its customers.

As part of our everyday effort to deliver reliable energy to our customers, Eversource has designed the Putnam Avenue Substation Project to improve the reliability of the electric system serving Cambridge, Mass. A strong electrical grid is vital to the safety, security and economic prosperity of the region.

A new transformer and associated equipment will be added to the existing Eversource-owned substation property. An enclosure will be built around the transformer to help reduce sound and protect the equipment. Landscaping improvements and a new decorative fence will also be installed as part of this project, along with improvements to the local distribution system.


Important Update on COVID-19 and Essential Work  

On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, the Cambridge Inspectional Services Department (ISD) issued a letter to Cambridgeport neighborhood residents stating that construction activity at the Putnam Avenue Substation had been deemed essential in order to meet a summer in-service date to help meet peak load demands and prevent system overloads.

A copy of the Cambridge ISD letter is available below:

As we carry out this work to ensure our customers and communities have the safe, reliable energy service they need, we continue to do so with a focus on social distancing, hygiene, and other best practices to safeguard health and avoid the spread of COVID-19. Please visit Eversource’s COVID-19 informational page for details about Eversource’s policies and protocols related to COVID-19.

Cambridge Board of Zoning Appeals

As a part of preparing to install this new equipment at our existing substation site, Eversource submitted a special permit application to the Cambridge Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA). The application for expanded use was approved on September 12, 2019. See the BZA's decision

Project Facts:

  • Putnam Avenue Substation Project: New transformer and associated equipment installed at the Putnam Avenue Substation in Cambridge. 
  • City: Cambridge, MA
  • Board of Zoning Appeals approval: September 12, 2019.
  • Building Permit: A building permit was issued by the City of Cambridge Inspectional Services on December 26, 2019.

Estimated Timetable (subject to change):

  • Equipment installation at substation: First and Second Quarter 2020 (complete)
  • Landscaping and fence improvements: Spring 2021
  • In-service date: Fall 2020

About The Project Site

The substation property is separated by a fence, and the enhancements will take place in the area that currently has no substation facilities. 

Plans to enhance the site aesthetics include: 

  • Upgrading the fence around the station so it will be complementary to the surrounding area. 
  • Replacing the existing dirt base with level gravel. 
  • New plantings to help screen equipment and provide visual interest throughout the seasons. 

Once the project is complete, stored equipment and other construction materials will be removed. 

Community Outreach

Owners of property next to the substation and other nearby residents will receive regular updates on construction, including schedule milestones and advance notice of deliveries or other notable events.

All persons working on the project carry proper identification; and we always make safety a priority in all the work we do.

Putnam Avenue Start of Construction Letter

Construction Updates

Eversource is committed to updating neighbors, business and community members about project activities during construction. These substation enhancements are not expected to interrupt electric service to homes or businesses.

This project website will be regularly updated, reflecting locations where crews will be working and the construction activities taking place. Please keep in mind that the construction schedule is subject to change and may be impacted by weather or unexpected circumstances.  

As of December 2020, construction activity at the site is now complete. Final restoration activities, including fence installation and landscaping, will be completed in spring of 2021.

General work hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturday between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Certain phases of work may require extended hours or Sunday work approval. Owners of property next to the substation will be notified in advance if these extended work hours are necessary. From time to time, portable lighting may be necessary and will be placed strategically with consideration to nearby neighbors.

Contact Information

Keeping the lines of communication open is an important part of our work in your community. For more information about the project, send an email to or call 800-793-2202.