power outages

Power Struggle Continues For Some in Western Connecticut

Eversource is closing in on 100% restoration but some in Connecticut remained without power Wednesday.

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Marianne Mahoney has lived in Bethel for 37 years. When Hurricane Gloria knocked out power at her house in 1985, her family invested in a generator. It’s that same generator, purchased more than three decades ago, she has been relying on for more than a week.

As of 4:30 Wednesday afternoon, Mahoney was still without power, a serious problem for this 68-year-old woman with health concerns.

“I am asthmatic so the air conditioning is important to me especially during these health alert days,” she said.

Mahoney lives on Country Way, a neighborhood where many people were still without power to begin the day. Mahoney contacted NBC Connecticut at 5:30 p.m. to say power had finally returned.

During a briefing Tuesday, Eversource explained that western Connecticut was the area most devastated by Tropical Storm Isaias. While Eversource did achieve the goal of restoring 99% of its customers by Tuesday night, there were still people who woke up in the dark Wednesday.

Bethel resident Bala Chivukula said his family spent one night this week sleeping in the backyard to stay cool. He had his power restored Wednesday but thinks Eversource could’ve had it done sooner.

“They should’ve planned better,” he said.  “They mismanaged it and I think they have to look at their disaster recovery, how do they react to some of these things.”

According to its outage map at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, fewer than 400 customers remain without power. Less than 10 of those are in Bethel.  Responding to NBC Connecticut’s inquiry today, Eversource said crews are focused on western Connecticut, explaining some issues are complex and require additional assistance from private electricians or contractors.

Meanwhile, state leaders continue to criticize.

“It really is unacceptable in this day and age,” said State Sen. Tony Hwang. “Virtually nine days into the storm, there is no words to describe how disappointing and frustrating it has been.”

Tuesday, Eversource said this storm, in many ways was worse than both Hurricane Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene.

“The damage locations are larger. The customer impact was larger,” said Craig Hallstrom, Eversource president of regional electric operations.

According to data provided by Eversource this storm resulted in 20,000 trouble spots compared to fewer than 17,000 with Sandy and Irene. Peak outages, however, are slightly lower (632,632) than Irene (671,000) but greater than Sandy (496,769).

It took Eversource 12 days to restore all power for Irene and 11 for Sandy.

“We will complete this storm in up to 30% shorter time frame,” added Hallstrom, during Tuesday’s briefing.

Hwang though doesn’t agree with Eversource’s assessment.

“The reality is a stark contrast to what Eversource is saying,” said Hwang. “They’ve done a horrible job and people are suffering and struggling.”

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