It may take Connecticut more than a week to get back power if the mutual aid crews from outside the state don’t begin to arrive at a quicker pace, a U.S. Department of Energy official said Tuesday.
U.S. Department of Energy’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Security and Energy Restoration Bill Bryan said the local utilities have been overwhelmed by this storm.
“If you look at the outages in Connecticut, which basically equals the outages of all the other places combined, you really don‘t have yet a fair distribution of workers from mutual assistance teams out here doing this,” Bryan said Tuesday at an afternoon press conference in the Emergency Operations Center.
With 6,000 workers expected to help out with the outages across the northeast, Bryan said he will be making some calls to make sure Connecticut gets the number of workers it needs.
“We are a little bit disappointed,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said.
Connecticut Light & Power hopes to have 505 line crews working today, but at the moment they’re at 440 line crews and 284 tree crews, Malloy said.
“The Department of Energy has been asked to intercede and make sure that more assets are on their way,” Malloy said. “To the extent that those assets aren’t immediately coming to Connecticut that they assure us those assets won’t leave the region until Connecticut is fully connected.”
“We are admitting to you that we are underwhelmed by the contributions being made from outside of Connecticut for this effort,” Malloy said. “And that’s why I’m thankful the deputy is here.”
Bryan explained the length of time the state is having to wait for additional crews is the distance they have to travel with their trucks to respond.
“It takes them a couple of days just to get here. Once these teams are in place you’re going to restoration numbers increase from our experience pretty dramatically,” Bryan said.
Bryan, who was in Connecticut after Irene, was hesitant to predict how long the state would be without power since he just arrived Tuesday morning and has yet to see the damage himself.
Malloy was fairly blunt though about how the utility has been describing the amount of help coming from other states.
“Each time CL&P has been making an announcement on the promises that have been made fewer crews have actually gotten here within the time frame that’s been described,” Malloy said.
Connecticut Light & Power will be at the Emergency Operations Center at 6 p.m. to answer questions about exactly how long restoration will take and how many crews it has doing the necessary work to restore power.
In a 10 a.m. press release CL&P said it’s now able to give customers a time frame for when they will see their power restored.
“We know that what our customers want most is information about when their power will be restored,” Jeffrey Butler, president and chief operating officer of CL&P, said.
“Estimates for when 99 percent of the residents will be restored are available for 50 towns and we expect to have estimates for all towns we serve by tomorrow morning. In the hardest hit areas of the state we continue working with the towns to clear blocked roads and assess damage before we can provide accurate estimates.”
Click here to see if you’re one of the 50 towns.