Jeff Butler said there was more snow and damage than he expected.
Gov. Dannel Malloy said on Wednesday that his frustration is mounting after the October storm that knocked out power to more than three-quarters of the state.
“People’s frustration is mounting. I certainly understand it. Mine has been too, but we’re working through all of the issues that lay before us,” Malloy said.
Jeff Butler, who runs Connecticut Light & Power, joined the governor during a news conference on Wednesday morning and question after question asked was about whether the company was prepared for the storm and what they did to reach out for help.
He said the storm brought more snow and damage than he expected.
“When we had the weather forecast, and everything we that looked at in preparation for this storm, the amount of snow, with ended up being the problem, was far more significant than what had been forecast. This event, as it came in Saturday, started earlier and lasted longer, with more snow accumulation,” Butler said.
Forecasts from meteorologists from NBC Connecticut were for snowfalls that would shatter records and bring down trees that were still holding on to their foliage.
View more videos at: http://nbcconnecticut.com.
Malloy said he knew the storm was going to have a deep impact.
“I expected it, and expected that, if that storm played out as it was, people would be out of power for a week. We did say that,” he said.
At the height of the storm, more than 950,000 people would lose their power, according to CL&P, which is 77 percent of the company’s customer base. Most of the damage was tree-related, Butler said.
"We talked about Irene being a historic event. This is a magnitude higher than even Irene,” Butler said.
During a news conference on Wednesday morning, Butler was asked whether the company planned for long-term outages, something Malloy had addressed prior to the storm.
“We did plan for long-term outages. I did not expect it to be anywhere close to where almost a million of our discreet customers lost their power. Based on all the forecasts that I saw, and the snow accumulations, I did not expect that. It exceeded anything that we were looking at as a forecast for damage,” he said.
Butler was also asked if the company worked, in advance of the storm, to get help in to deal with power loss and damage.
He said the company uses a system of mutual aid.
“We reach out to bring in additional crews. We did that prior to this storm,” Butler said. Basically, we hired them before the storm hit, he said.
Malloy said CL&P is estimating that 99 percent of customers will have their power back by Sunday.
“I am glad the number of people without power is dropping, as it has for approximately 150,000 in the last 24 hours, but we need to move faster,” he said.
As of 6 a.m. Thursday, CL&P's Web site said 435,384 customers have no power.