NBC Connecticut's Complete Coverage of the Storm

Power Restoration Estimates Expected Thursday

Power outages reached more than 600,000 statewide at the height of the storm.

Thursday, Nov 1, 2012  |  Updated 6:54 AM EDT
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Looking Back at Hurricane Sandy's Devastation

Connecticut Light & Power is building a retaining wall to help protect the substation.

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Power remains out for more than 340,000 households and businesses in Connecticut three days after the worst of Sandy came through the state.

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.

As of 6:50 a.m. on Thursday, approximately 107,280  electric customers still remain without power in the 17 towns and cities UI serves.

“We fully understand that the loss of electricity seriously disrupts people’s lives, and we have tapped into every resource at our disposal to restore electric service to all of our customers safely and as quickly as possible,” Anthony J. Vallillo, UI president and chief operating officer, said. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, one of the most powerful storms to ever hit our region.”

UI officials said they have restored power to approximately 92,340 customers who lost power during the storm.

Officials from Northeast Utilities have warned that outages could be extensive.

Connecticut Light & Power plans to provide first estimates for power restoration on Thursday.

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."

Malloy said he is requesting emergency declarations for all counties of the state because of power outages.

Extended power outages following storms in August and October of 2011 prompted officials to warns of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning associated with misusing generators or using grills indoors.

In recent days, three people have been hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning, according to Malloy. No additional details have been released, so it was not immediately clear exactly what caused the illnesses.

"If you're going to heat your home, you have to vent whatever you are heating it with. That's just a reality. We don't want to lose citizens, one, two or three days after an event because they forgot to vent the heating source, so be very careful," Malloy said.

"This is going to be a lengthy restoration," Al Lara, a spokesman for parent company Northeast Utilities, said days ago.

As of 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Connecticut Light & Power was reporting 237,385 outages.

In East Lyme, 99 percent of customers had no power Wednesday, while Clinton was 98 percent without power.

Salem's power outages were 95 percent, while 94 percent of Stonington and Weston, and 93 percent of Chester and Lyme had no power Wednesday.

Power was out for 91 Percent of Sherman and 90 percent of Ledyard.

United Illuminating reported 108,898 outages Wednesday.

In Bridgeport, 40,000 customers did not have power as of Wednesday afternoon.

“To all of those residents who are without power, I share your frustration. The residents of Bridgeport deserve more attention from our utility provider,” Mayor Bill Finch said. 

He said UI and City Public Works crews are working in tandem to clear trees and debris from power lines. The city has charging stations for residents at three Bridgeport Public Library locations: Burroughs-Saden, Newfield and North Branch.

Thousands of customers in New Haven do not have power. 

"While New Haven weathered the storm better than initially predicted, many residents are still without power and many streets remain blocked by down trees and wires. I want to thank residents for remaining patient as emergency crews work around the clock to repair the damage and restore power. I am in close communication with United Illuminating to assure that they are doing everything possible to restore power as quickly as possible,” said Mayor John DeStefano Jr. “I also want to acknowledge the City crews who have opened 90 streets, removed 60 street trees, provided numerous house pump-outs and patrolled City streets this week.”

As of Wednesday, Norwich Public Utilities was reporting less than 100 outages out of 22,000 customers.

.“I’ve made clear to the utility companies that their job is to get that power back as quickly as possible and they understand that, I can assure you,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said during a news conference on Tuesday morning

"We took a big hit over the last few days and I want to thank the people of Connecticut for hanging in there,' Malloy said during a news conference about the storm overall. "We did our best to protect you and stand with you and now it's our job to get people's lives as back to normal as quickly as possible. That may take some time, but we won't rest until that happens."

Malloy said that it appears that some of the work done since storms last year, that led to massive long-lasting power outages has worked. Tree trimming, which he acknowledged is controversial, is among the successful preparation, he said.

"More than one thousand line workers have arrived from as far away as the Pacific Northwest, Texas and Washington,” Bill Quinlan, CL&P Senior Vice President of Emergency Preparedness, said in a statement.  "Crews continue working as long as it is safe to do so, and our first priority is always responding to emergencies and ensuring public safety.”  

The first two priorities have been emergency calls and clearing roads and those will continue to be the focus today, Quinlan said.

More than 500 electricians have been deployed and staging areas will be set up across the street, especially in the southwestern and southeastern parts of the state, which were hardest hit, Quinlan said.

Restoration estimations are expected to be released Thursday.

According to UI officials, the company had to de-energize three substations that were compromised by flood waters in Bridgeport and the company had to cut power to more than 52,000 customers in Bridgeport, Stratford, Trumbull and Fairfield. 

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said clean-up will take a while.

"The storm lasted only a few hours, but the clean-up will last far longer. United Illuminating “Make Safe” crews are currently working to de-energize fallen power lines throughout the City. Until that can occur, City tree crews cannot begin to remove entangled trees that may be blocking public streets and sidewalks," DeStefano said.

"I urge residents to please remain patient and stay away from any down power lines," he said,

Complete Sandy Coverage

Lara said Connecticut Light & Power has two substations in the flood zone -- in Stamford and  Branford.

The Stamford substation was in a more precarious situation, according to Lara, and the utility company took what Lara called the unprecedented action of building a retaining wall around it.

Malloy said some positive news is that efforts were taken to protect substations, including in Bridgeport, which could have been flooded, were not. If those infrastructures were not protected, the situation could have been much worse, according to the governor.

The Berlin-based utility is assuring customers and state officials that it has made significant improvements to avoid widespread outages similar to what followed the freak October snow storm that hit Connecticut last year.

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