What to Know
- More than 660,000 customers remain without power late Wednesday nightacross Connecticut after damage from Tropical Storm Isaias. Governor Lamont said he wants power back on for most residents by the end of the week and has called for an investigation by PURA.
- Eversource is currently reporting more than 570,000 customers without power and asks if you are experiencing an outage to call them 800-286-2000, text 'OUT' to 23129, or report it at http://Eversource.com. People can also report outages via social media direct message.
- United Illuminating is reporting more than 80,000 outages. Customers can report outages online at https://www.uinet.com/. Neither utility has given estimated restoration times.
Cleanup continues after Tropical Storm Isaias left widespread damage in Connecticut, killed at least one person and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people in the state on Tuesday.
Governor Ned Lamont declared a state of emergency for Connecticut to be able to get in additional resources to help with recovery. The governor has also asked President Donald Trump and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a Presidential Emergency Declaration to help with the cleanup and recovery.
Connecticut received a significant amount of the strongest winds from Tropical Storm Isaias from the southeast side of the system. Peak wind gusts reached as high as 68 mph in Bridgeport and 66 mph in New Haven.
A Naugatuck man was killed when he got out of his vehicle to try to move branches off the road and a tree fell on him, according to Naugatuck police. The man has been identified by police as 66-year-old Naugatuck resident Raymond Schultz.
Public safety officials warned that more branches and wires could come down even after the storm had passed.
This is one of the largest power outage events in the state's modern history, among the ranks of the October snowstorm, Tropical Storm Irene, Hurricane Gloria, and Hurricane Sandy.
In the governor's letter to the president, Lamont said it is anticipated that "full restoration may take a week or more."
Lamont met with Eversource executives Wednesday afternoon and said he has plenty of questions for the public utility about its power restoration plans.
"I want to make sure we put every person we can on the table to take care of this. I don't want any excuses," Lamont said.
The governor said he wants most residents of Connecticut to have their electricity back by the end of the week.
"We've got to get this state up and operating again with a working electric system, and i want that done overwhelmingly by the end of this week and i'm going to try to hold people accountable the best I can," said Lamont. Lamont said Eversource has restored power to 200,000 people but "that's not good enough for me."
"Right now, I've got a house on fire so to speak and I need the fire department there fully staffed," Lamont said.
The governor said crews will be coming from across the region to assist Connecticut's utility companies in the next day or so. He said there just are not enough local crews to do the job.
"I need the people in place now, or certainly within 24 hours, to start repairs," said the governor.
In his letter to the president, the governor said 33 nursing homes are on generator power, cell towers are losing capabilities and four correctional facilities are on generators. The governor also said 31 public water systems are on generators.
Craig Hallstrom, President of Regional Electric Operations for Eversource Energy, said he understands the urgency in getting power back to Connecticut's residents. However, he said it's too soon to have a timeline for restoration because the company is still evaluating the damage.
Eversource currently has 450 electric restoration crews and 235 tree crews working across the state, with plans to double those numbers in next 24 hours, according to Hallstrom.
"We understand their frustration. We're going to get this done as quickly as possible," Hallstrom said.
Lamont said there will be time to do postmortems on what happened with the outages.
"To be blunt, I don't see my progress for all the progress we've made" in terms of strengthening and modernizing our grid, Lamont said. But he said he wants to focus on getting power back first.
Governor Lamont said he wants the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to begin an investigation into the response of the utility companies for their response to Tropical Storm Isaias.
In a press release, the governor's office said, "The governor said that the companies’ response to the storm has been wholly inadequate and does not meet the obligations for the critical resources they are responsible for providing on behalf of Connecticut residents. He wants to know what specific steps the companies took in the lead up to Tropical Storm Isaias, which had been forecast to impact Connecticut several days prior to making landfall and remained relatively on the track that meteorologists had predicted."
A state of emergency was declared for New Haven, Mayor Justin Elicker announced Wednesday afternoon. Elicker said there 128 streets across New Haven currently blocked or impacted by downed trees. He said he has been in touch with United Illuminating about next steps to getting power back online.
"This is going to take quite a long time for us to address and it's very important the public understand that," Elicker said. Elicker also said the New Haven Police Department's headquarters suffered roof and water damage, as well as some overheating of its computer equipment.
"This was a mega Tropical Storm," said New Haven Director of Emergency Management Rick Fontana. "There was major, major damage. Major damage to homes, major damage to electrical infrastructure." Fontana said his staff will be operating in an all-hands mode, probably through the weekend.
"This was a difficult storm, a major incident for us," Fontana said. Fontana said one man suffered significant injuries to how lower body after a tree fell on him, but he was rushed to the hospital.
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said she plans to take a look into the outages and to get financial support from the federal government to make those impacted whole.
Power Outages Reported
Eversource and United Illuminating continue to both report significant power outages.
As of 10:45 p.m on Wednesday, Eversource is reporting more than 570,000 outages.
"We're asking our customers to prepare for multiple days without power," Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross told NBC Connecticut's Kevin Nathan. "We're working as quickly and as safely as we can, and there's a lot of damage out there and a lot of work that still needs to be done."
Gross said additional reports of damage throughout the state could still come in as Eversource teams are able to get into areas that are being cleaned up and made safe for crews. The company said it is working around-the-clock shifts to clear roads, assess damage and restore power.
When asked about when customers will receive a timeline for restoration, Gross said, "We're working on it. We're in full damage assessment mode right now."
The initial focus will be on restoring essential services: hospitals, first responders, and water treatment facilities. After that, the focus is on how to restore service to the greatest number of customers at a single time.
Eversource said as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, power has been restored to 200,000 customers.
Multiple Eversource customers reported delays or challenges in reporting outages to the utility company Tuesday evening. The company confirmed there were outages with its reporting system but said those systems have been fixed. Eversource is asking customers who have trouble getting through to direct message the company your address on social media, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-800-286-2000.
"We recognize how difficult it is to be without electricity especially while many people continue working from home during the pandemic. Our crews will continue working until every customer has power back while also complying with stringent pandemic protocols," said Eversource Vice President of Electric Operations in Connecticut Michael Hayhurst, in a statement.
Gross said Eversource has additional help onsite already, including contractors who were arranged before the storm, and crews from out of state.
United Illuminating is reporting over 80,000 power outages and many of them are in Shelton and Fairfield. The company reported restoring power to more than 32,000 customers as of 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. It said it had 465 restoration personnel working across its service area and reiterated that they expect the process to last several days.
"The restoration effort that is already underway is likely to last several days, and customers who are currently without service should factor that into their planning," UI said in an email to customers on Tuesday night.
“Tropical Storm Isaias was a significant weather event, comparable to major storms Connecticut has faced in the past,” said Tony Marone, UI’s President and CEO, said in a press release. “We saw damage across our electric system, in all of the 17 towns and cities we serve, with more than 1,600 outage-causing events and more than 1,000 wires down that for safety reasons crews must address.”
Norwich Public Utilities reported just over 6,000 without power as of 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The company estimated that by 10 p.m. Wednesday they will be down to 1,000 without power. The company is focusing on customers on Case Street, Plain Hill Road, Ox Hill Road and Oneco Street.
Power outages can bring an added reliance on items that can create carbon monoxide, so the Department of Public Health issued a warning about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias. DPH warned residents to keep portable generators outside and at least 20 feet away from the house. Using a portable generator anywhere indoors, including an open garage, can lead to deadly CO levels in minutes. Charcoal grills, camping stoves, and kerosene lamps and heaters can all lead to dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning.
Department of Labor Contact Center Impacted
The state Department of Labor said Wednesday its contact center was impacted by the power outages from Isaias. The contact center is currently operating at 50 percent capacity.
State Parks and Campgrounds Closed
State parks, forests and campgrounds were all closed on Wednesday, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced on Twitter. Some will reopen Thursday, while others require more cleanup.
For the full list of what's open and what's closed, click here.
Damage Reported Across State
Part of a roof on an apartment complex in Wethersfield broke off, but fortunately, there were no injuries.
Several state roads remain closed on Wednesday morning. A full list can be found here.
In West Hartford, police reported 56 roads or intersections affected by downed wires and trees. Police asked the public to remain off the roads if possible.
Greenwich declared a local civil preparedness emergency and asked the public to limit travel while they worked to clean up storm damage.
Fire department crews in Westport had responded to more than 130 calls for service as of 9 p.m. on Tuesday. At one point over 94% of the town was without power, according to the fire department.
In New Haven, as of Tuesday evening, Mayor Justin Elicker said the area's Regional 911 is down. Residents are asked to call 203-781-8200 to report emergencies if you are not able to get through on 9-1-1.
PHOTOS: Tropical Storm Isaias Rips Across Connecticut
Lake Compounce Closed
Tornado Warnings and Watch Canceled
Several tornado warnings were issued in parts of the state as storm cells showed rotation up at the cloud level through Tuesday afternoon. Those warnings have since expired. All tornado watches that were previously issued have also expired.