Wednesday, August 31, 2011


From The New London Day 

                                        Power crews work to restore electricity in Niantic, CT. 

On the color-coded power outage map on Connecticut Light & Power's website, southeastern Connecticut Tuesday night was mostly purple and black, the colors representing areas where 61 percent to 100 percent of customers were without electricity.

As of Tuesday evening, North Stonington, Salem, Lisbon and Griswold were in the black, with almost 100 percent of CL&P customers in those towns still without power. Ledyard was at 89 percent, Montville at 80 percent, Preston at 80 percent and Lyme at 94 percent.

The "lucky" towns included East Lyme - a little more than half the town had no power - and New London, where just 24 percent lacked power.

But for many the problem was less about the outage itself and more about not knowing when power would be restored.

Regionwide, officials and residents bemoaned what they said was a lack of communication about the utility's plan of attack.

"We did have a liaison (from CL&P) that landed on us maybe a half-hour ago," Ledyard Mayor Fred Allyn Jr. said Tuesday morning, "but we haven't yet determined how that's going to help us."

Allyn and officials in other towns said they were waiting for CL&P crews to arrive and help their public works departments, which needed the utility to advise them on live wires.

"(It would help) if all they did was just drive around and either put out surveyor's tape or drive around with public works behind them and say, 'That one's good, that one isn't,'" Allyn said.

Salem First Selectman Kevin Lyden said, half-joking, that he didn't care how the help arrived. "Send out a guy in a pickup truck," he said. "If these wires aren't live, we'll cut the trees."
It seems the damge to the power system is so widespread it is far beyond what CL&P is used to.

    Pete Mercuri, center, a New London Public Works employee, watches as Bruce Tackling, top right, a senior heavy operator with New London Public Works, positions his bucket to cut limbs and make progress toward removing the tree from the roof of the home on Chapel Dr. in New London.

"They seem overwhelmed," Lyden said of CL&P. "From what I see of the size of the storm, the size of the damage, it was a very bad storm. I know it wasn't a hurricane, it was downgraded to a tropical storm right before it hit here, but it caused a lot of damage to wires."

In Lyme, CL&P crews that spent all day Monday clearing the roads for safety reasons are now moving on to the restoration phase, said Lee Watkins, Lyme's emergency management director.

First Selectman Ralph Eno was out with a CL&P foreman Tuesday afternoon to point out broken poles and downed wires that need to be fixed, Watkins said. The restoration crew, eight trucks in all, is made up of out-of-town workers from as near as Boston and as far away as Minnesota and the Carolinas. They were expected to arrive by Tuesday night.
While CL&P has called in out of state crews to help restore power it seems like this is happening later than it should.

In Ledyard, resident Kim Prescott said she was alarmed to see cars drive under wires with large trees hanging precariously on them on busy Route 117. In a neighborhood off Long Cove Road, she said, a neighbor put a handmade sign out warning people to beware of live wires after waiting too long for authorities to get there.

"For 800 trucks being out, it seems like you should at least see a few here and there," Prescott said.

Prescott said she's driven around her town and others the past few days and sees the same scene everywhere. She said she's worried about her father. He lives in Waterford and has a heart condition, she said, and has been worked up about the lack of information.

"I think that what everyone is really frustrated about," Prescott said, "is there's still a dangerous situation going into the third day, and it's not being taken care of. Hurricane Bob, it was the first day or so and then you saw the cleanup effort. But we're not seeing the cleanup efforts."
Its not the CL&P crews are not working hard, they are, rather the extent of the dame is far more than they can handle and reinforcements from other states are only now beginning to arrive.
 The crews coming in from Colorado were, as of Tuesday morning, reportedly in the Des Moines, Iowa, area, Courtney said.
Courtney said the priority now was to ensure that power is restored in a timely manner. "We're going to have time to break this down once the recovery is over," he said. "We're going to have plenty of time to get some postgame analysis."
The post game for CL&P is going to be very intresting indeed.

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