On the same day that severe weather is expected, Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a bill into law that holds the state accountable for preparing for intense weather situations.
The reason for the legislation is to be better prepared for natural disasters and avoid what happened during Tropical Storm Irene and the October nor’eastern, when the state was crippled by downed trees and extended power outages.
“It is a common sense way to ensure that we are ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at us in the future,” Malloy said.
After those storms, Malloy established the Two Storm Panel, which reviewed the performance of the state and Connecticut Light & Power and determined that there was room for improvement.
“Last year, the residents of Connecticut were not well served by the system,” Malloy said.
The new legislation focuses on better preparedness, training and communication between the state’s utility companies and state and local governments in the event of an emergency or other natural disaster.
It requires utility companies to submit emergency plans for restoring service, establishes standards for utility, telecommunication and cable companies during storms and establishes penalties for companies that do not meet the standards.
It also calls for studying the feasibility of requiring backup power for telecommunications towers and antennas and encourages coordination of underground infrastructure projects.
One additional thing the legislation does is require the development of procedures to expedite the process of road-clearing after an emergency.
“We've absolutely got to take all the lessons we've learned and do a better job. All of us,” said Malloy.
Statewide emergency drills will start this weekend and run through July 31.
The four-day exercise will include two two-day drills. Drills on Saturday and Monday will focus on pre-hurricane landfall, while drills on Sunday and Tuesday will focus on post-landfall.
You can find more information on the state Department of Emergency Services & Public Protection Web site.