While Brookfield is better off than much of the state, as of Wednesday morning, a quarter of residents were still without power and Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) still doesn’t have a better estimate on when the town and other parts of Fairfield County will be re-energized.
“We realize getting restoration times is important,” Jeff Butler, president and chief operating officer of CL&P said during a Wednesday morning press conference. “That is a primary focus right now.”
For now, only customers who live in the areas around Torrington, Cheshire, Tolland and Hartford will receive restoration estimates, Butler said. The company does not have information on when other customers will receive estimates, Butler said.
“We are getting those restoration projections,” he said.
CL&P has pledged to have fewer than 100,000 customers without power as of Saturday and full restoration by next Wednesday. As of today, more than 300,000 customers are without electricity – or about a quarter of the areas the utility serves in the state. The hardest hit areas are along the coast and eastern part of the state, Butler said.
The company has admitted it made missteps in its response to the storm, namely assuming that crews whose employers had promised to send them to Connecticut for the restoration effort would come.
CL&P said while it had lined up the workers in preparation for the storm and were expecting them to be in place by Saturday, some didn’t show up or were delayed 12 to 20 hours, which apparently left the company in a bind, Butler said.
“We got to a point we were verifying where each crew was,” he said. “Hopefully you can appreciate how frustrating that is.”
Butler said better managing the import of crews from other jurisdiction was among the lessons learned for the company.
“It’s an area that we’ll look into,” he said.
For now, the company is focused on making sure town centers have their power back within the next 36 hours so that grocery stores and gas stations can re-open, Butler said.
Newtown’s Main Street was one of the beneficiaries as four line crews worked Tuesday to fix the primary circuit in that area, returning full power Tuesday evening to the police station, library and other services.
The magnitude of the damage has proved daunting, with the eastern sections of the state and coastline suffering the most damage, Butler said.
“It’s by far the worst storm,” he said.
As of the moment the company has 800 line crews and 400 tree crews, each made up of two workers, trying to restore electricity throughout the state, Butler said.
The total cost of the effort is about $75 million, and under state law the company is allowed to seek permission from the state to raise rates in order to pay for the cost.