NBC Connecticut's Complete Coverage of the Storm

CL&P "Substantial" Power Restoration for Monday or Tuesday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Power remains out for almost 240,000 people days after Superstorm Sandy moved through.

    Power is out for 166,108 Connecticut Light & Power customers, which is 13 percent of the customer base, and for 72,744 United Illuminating customers.

    CL&P officials said the best estimate is for power to be restored for most customers by Monday or Tuesday,  but there is no guarantee.

    Both United Illuminating and CL&P will hold news conferences on Friday morning to talk about their progress,

    "This is an estimate. It is not a guarantee, and I think our customers need to plan accordingly." Bill Quinlan, senior vice president of emergency preparedness for Connecticut Light and Power, said.

    United Illuminating said on Thursday morning that they expect to complete service restoration to 95 percent of its customers before midnight on Monday, Nov. 5.

    CL&P said they expect 2 percent of customers to still be out of power after Monday or Tuesday.

    "To pull this off, to achieve this restoration, is going to require an extraordinary amount of coordination in the field, high level of execution by our field forces," Quinlan said. "We do believe this is a challenging target we have set for ourselves, but I will say, if we're able to pull this off, in my view,  this is among the best restorations you'll see in the industry."

    The timeline is assuming good working conditions.

    "You can be assured we are going to do everything possible to restore the quickest number of customers just as soon as we can,"Quinlan said. 

    The damage is concentrated in southwestern Connecticut and along the eastern shoreline, consistent with the storm path, Quinlan said.

    The power outages affect about 19 percent of the CL&P customer base. 

    Living with no power has been tough for families along the shoreline, especially because several towns had been completely in the dark since Monday.  On Wednesday night. crews worked to fix hundreds of downed power lines, but their job was far from over.

    “It’s horrendous. We need power,” said Scott Migdole, of Westbrook.  “We have to use the flashlights to get around. … We have no other option.”

    The family can’t use anything from their refrigerator, and food was hard to come by all week. 

    “There’s no place in town. There’s no Dunkin Donuts. There’s no place to eat,” Christina Migdole said. 

    “No, this is not how we want to be living,” Scott Migdole said.

    Power is out for 79 percent of East Lyme, where generators gave some a sense of normalcy, but most were not as fortunate.

    “It’s very tough. My husband has had to go out into neighboring towns to get food,” said Joane Olawale. 

    She and her family had been uncomfortable without power all week.

    “I've taken cold showers. My husband’s taken cold showers, but (for) the kids, it's tough,” Olawale added.
     
    Hot showers were the big draw at the shelter at East Lyme Middle School.

    “I just took a shower. I'm feeling human again,” said Amy Bogert, one of dozens who showed up to clean up. “It’s like you’re in a suspended life state. You can’t do what you normally do.”

    Now, they wait to see a truck from CL&P.

    “We look out our window all the time to see a CL&P truck and we haven't seen it yet,” Bogert said.
     
    In Old Lyme, the focus is expected to be on is expected to be the Mile Creek, Buttonball and Rowland road areas and the McCurdy and Shoreline Road areas.

    The number of broken poles, in part, drives the estimate for restoring power, according to CL&P.

    In excess of 1,000 new poles that will need to be reset and several thousand spans of conductor, or wire, that will have to be restrung in many transformers around the state.

    “There’s a lot of work ahead of us, particularly in these severely impacted portions of the state,” Quinlan said. “Those are essentially complete rebuilds of the distribution system.”   

    Quinlan said around 1,080 linemen from out of state have been working on the system. The estimate of restoring power by early next week depends on increasing the number to around 2,000 linemen over the next several days. Several hundred are expected in Connecticut on Thursday, Quinlan said.

    "If I didn't feel confident that we'd be able to get the 2,000 linemen, it wouldn't be a planning assumption." Quinlan said.

    Gov. Dannel Malloy said on Wednesday morning that President Barack Obama was holding conference calls with the CEOs of the utility companies in the affected areas of the United States, including United Illuminating and Connecticut Light & Power.  

    "This is an extraordinary step for the president and his secretary of energy to have taken, and it is greatly appreciated," said Malloy, who is a Democrat. "The message is clear. We in government stand ready to help the utility companies help our residents so that we can all get our lives back to normal as quickly as possible."