CL&P Under Fire

Questions surround delays in CL&P's response to storm.

More people woke up on Thursday morning with lights and heat for the first time in five days, but almost 431,000 still remained in the dark.

Crews restored power to about 124,000 Connecticut Light & Power customers since Wednesday morning, just shy of the 125,000 they planned to restore power to. As of Thursday afternoon, power remains out for 406,000.

"It's not exactly where I thought they'd be or where they said they'd be, but it's reasonably close to that, at about 124,000," Gov. Dannel Malloy said on Thursday morning.

CL&P promised to have everyone by Sunday night, a full week after a rare October snowstorm caused brought down trees and power lines, affecting nearly a million power customers across the state.  

"I am holding them accountable to the benchmarks they set," Malloy said.

There were 1,479 tree and line crews working to clear trees and restore power on Thursday, according to the CL&P. The company plans to cut the number of power outages to 300,000 or less by Friday morning.

Jeff Butler, who runs CL&P, came under fire on Wednesday after saying the storm was more serious and caused more damage than he expected. Butler tried to clarify his statement on Wednesday night.

"This morning, I said it was Saturday when we knew about the extent of the storm. I misspoke. To be honest with you, the days have started to run together," Butler said.

He also addressed lingering questions about slow payments to out-of-state crews CL&P hired during Tropical Storm Irene and whether that led to problems in securing those crews to work during this storm.

"There are some invoices related to Irene that are still being reviewed, processed and many have been paid," Butler said. "Most of the contractors we used in Irene who were available are also working for us in this storm."

Malloy echoed the frustrations of the thousands of people without power on Wednesday and said he will be closely monitoring the Sunday promises to have power restored.

"Those are deadlines that they set for themselves. If they fail to do that, (that) would cause me to lose more confidence," Malloy said.

He has asked the commission looking in to CL&P's response to Irene to now also investigate the response to the October storm as well. He also said the state needs to look at legislation to ensure that power be restored in a timely manner, but now is not the time to focus on that.

"I am squarely focused on getting power back on," Malloy said.

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