Trees uprooted. Wires still down. This was the scene in Ridgefield Tuesday, more than a week after Tropical Storm Isaias created extensive damage and widespread power outages. Eversource’s response there has people frustrated and looking for answers.
“I don’t know what’s going on with Eversource. Maybe they’re more concerned about their credit rating than they are about taking care of their customers,” said Craig Heberton.
As of 4:57 p.m. Tuesday afternoon there were nearly 19,000 Eversource customers without power, nearly 2,000 of them in Ridgefield.
“I saw the first Eversource truck about (11:45 a.m.) at the bottom of our road. It’s the first truck I’ve seen the entire week,” said David Casciari.
Eversource said western Connecticut was the hardest hit area and that 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. Tuesday is day 8 in the Isaias recovery.
“We will complete this storm in up to 30% shorter time frame,” added Hallstrom.
Elsewhere in western Connecticut, nearly 3,600 Eversource Customers in Danbury remained without power this afternoon. Frustrated, Danbury’s mayor said his office is investigating legal action.
“The residents of this state should not sit still for this and we should not and cannot forget,” said Mark Boughton, mayor of Danbury.
Boughton was joined by town leaders from Bethel and Ridgefield Tuesday afternoon at a press conference where they challenged Hallstrom's assertion that the company was adequately prepared, saying Tuesday they still had intersections blocked and residents and businesses without power.
Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker said in his town they didn't see a "Make Safe" crew until three days after the storm.
Leaders from all three municipalities also said they received little or no communication from Eversource liaisons.
Eversource said more than 2,500 line crews are working to repair damage around the state with a heavy concentration on Western Connecticut.
“We’re on this and will be on this until it’s finished,” said Hallstrom.
Eversource is aiming to have 99% of its customers restored by midnight Tuesday. No time frame was established for 100%.