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Monday, October 31, 2011

CL&P: ‘Historic Damage to Electrical System’

Connecticut Light & Power Co. said today damage assessments continue following the rare October nor’easter that left more than 831,000 customers without power. 

“The unusually wet, heavy snow on trees still full with leaves -– creating tree weights twice the normal levels -– created historic damage to the electrical system, particularly in the northwest and north central portions of the state,” the company said in a news release.

Making good on a pledge following Tropical Storm Irene, within 12-14 hours after the end of the storm, CL&P has at least one crew assigned to the vast majority of affected towns, with a primary focus of coordinating with the town to address emergency situations and facilitate the reopening of roads by municipalities, the company said.

In addition, every town that has requested a town liaison has one now, it said. A CL&P liaison has been at Westport’s Emergency Operations Center since it opened on Saturday.

At present, CL&P crews are working with municipalities to clear blocked roads and identify problems areas, CL&P said.

There are currently more than 300 crews working (189 line and 114 tree crews) and 600 additional crews are committed to join the effort, the company said.

It said it continues to request additional assistance, but with neighboring utility crews committed to their own restoration efforts the search is being expanded to unaffected regions of the country.

“It is important that our customers understand this restoration is going to take time – there are no quick fixes to the damage to the electrical system,” said Jeff Butler, president and chief operating officer at CL&P.

“Generally speaking, we are working with communities to clear roads in the northwest and north central portions of the state before we can begin restoration efforts. We are working as quickly as possible to complete assessments and restore power to our customers.”

Damage from the storm was far more extensive than forecasted, the company said.

It said the Connecticut Department of Transportation estimates that tree damage is five times greater than Irene.  Peak outages were about 831,000 throughout the electrical system. 

As of 8:45 p.m., service has been restored to more than 110,000 customers, CL&P said.

Unlike Tropical Storm Irene, CL&P experienced significant transmission outages in central and northwest Connecticut which have complicated restoration efforts, according to the company.

Thirty specialized line crews are dedicated to address the most critical system problems—44 transmission lines are out of service and 21 of these transmission lines need to be restored to restore power to substations, CL&P said.

“We are encouraging customers to be prepared for the worst case, which would be outages lasting more than one week in some of the areas,” Butler said. 

“As we get through our damage assessments, we will be able to provide more specific restoration information for our customers.  While we expect most affected customers will be restored in less time, we are encouraging patience as we work as quickly and as safely as possible to restore power.”

CL&P also reminded customers to never touch a downed line and stay at least 10 feet away from all wires. Assume any downed, hanging or burning power lines are live and dangerous. Call 9-1-1 immediately with any emergency condition.

If you are using a generator, make sure it has been installed properly and never use it indoors or in partially enclosed spaces.

To report outages or check the status of an outage, visit or call 800-286-2000.

CL&P said its automated phone and online systems can rapidly process the report and help speed restoration efforts. 

For helpful tips and news updates, go to our website at, follow CL&P on Twitter at CTLightandPower.

Updates on outages in any town may be had by texting “outage” and your zip code to 24612 (texting fees may apply), the company said.


Posted 10/31/11 at 01:34 AM  Permalink


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