CL&P President Jeff Butler, looking haggard and tense at this evening’s press conference, confirmed what Gov. Dannel P. Malloy had announced earlier in the day – that the company was not going to meet its self-imposed deadline to restore power to 99 percent of customers in all 149 Connecticut cities and towns.
As of 6 p.m., 88,000 customers were still without electricity. Immediately following October snowstorm Albert, there were approximately 831,000 utility customers (CL&P, UI and Northeast Utilities) without power.
Butler said the current 88,000 customers awaiting electricity includes 6,800 outages that are not storm-related, but the result of other issues that normally occur.
“We continue to push… but we have not met our expectations or those of all of you,” Butler said, and apologized to the customers still in the dark and without heat.
Earlier in the press conference Gov. Malloy said about 2,001 residents spent last night in shelters across the state.
Malloy also noted that 496 members of the National Guard and 60 State Department of Transportation crews were out helping CL&P today (Nov. 6).
As of today, about 96 percent of customers had power turned back on, Butler said. By 8 a.m. on Monday, that figure should be up to 97 percent, by midnight it should be 99 percent, and finally by midnight on Tuesday, everyone should be back online, Butler said. But that means 9 days of hardship for many people and businesses.
More crews have been brought on board to help with the remaining work. There were 2,482 working today, which is up 170 crews from yesterday, Butler said.
About 16 towns were only about 60 percent restored as of this evening, including towns in Tolland County – Somers, Stafford, Union, Tolland and Willington.
Asked by a reporter why CL&P didn’t focus its restoration efforts on the hardest hit areas, Butler defended his plan saying that sending the majority of crews to one part of the state would leave other cities and towns without power that much longer.
Another reporter asked if it is true that some crews were “standing around” waiting for instructions today. Butler responded that crews sometimes had to stop work for safety reasons as lines were powered up or switching operations were underway.
He also noted that some homes where power had been restored found themselves without electricity again because as lines were reactivated, in some case, it triggered other problems in the system.
Butler also asked customers who notice power has been restored around their home but they are still without electricity to call CL&P customer service to alert them to the outage.
As of the 6 p.m. press conference, Butler said, CL&P’s online map and outage/restoration list was up to date. As this evening’s data is input, outage numbers will drop significantly, he said.
Gov. Malloy had announced this morning that he didn’t expect CL&P to meet its goal because he wanted to alert municipal officials and customers still without power that they might need to find shelter tonight, and to help towns make decisions about schools and other services.
“The closer we got to CL&P’s self-identified goal of 99 percent restoration in each city and town by midnight tonight, the more skeptical I became of their ability to meet that goal,” Gov. Malloy said in a prepared statement.
“I’m releasing this information because towns and cities need to make preparations based on the reality of the situation – not what CL&P hopes to have happen – and residents need to make individual decisions about what to do over the next few days.”
Posted Nov. 6, 2011
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