Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Tuesday that Connecticut Light & Power told him it thinks they will make major progress by tonight and substantial progress by tomorrow. As of 2:23 p.m. there were still about 16,000 customers without power.
Connecticut Light & Power’s President and Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Butler has said all of its customers will see power restored before midnight Wednesday.
While Malloy said he was “hopeful” he also remained skeptical of the revised estimate. He said they’ve come across developments of 300 homes where they will have to rebuild the entire electrical system and those homes may not see power restored until later in the week.
The company already told any new customers that may need power for the first time, not to expect it until Nov. 15.
Malloy said he’s still in awe of the damage done by this storm. He said there were 4.3 million yards of debris, an estimate he thinks could be much higher when all is said and done.
“I’ve levied plenty of criticism with respect to the utility, but hopefully we’ll turn the corner in the next 48 hours,” Malloy said
Malloy has been especially critical of CL&P’s performance and failure to meet its self-imposed Sunday deadline to have 99 percent of customers restored, but he thinks the state did a good job of coordinating and executing the role it played in response to the storm.
“I think the state actually performed relatively well,” Malloy said. “I wanna go a step further I think the state performed very well.”
He said the story hasn’t been told but the state needed to move a generator to the largest dairy farm in the state to make sure the cows could be milked.
“I was told that while we don’t really do that because it’s not covered under the Stafford Act, the federal act, because it’s a private entity,” Malloy said. “I made a joke that I don’t want exploding cows on my hands. But the reality is we needed to do that.”
He said state agencies, including the National Guard, also tried to be as helpful as they could to the utilities. And some of those efforts worked better than others.
The National Guard, which was first tasked with distributing meals and food to more than 85 communities, ended up later in the week helping local communities finish the process of clearing their roads.
He said the National Guard performed both those tasks “brilliantly.” However, they were sent away on several occasions from the task of clearing roads because of CL&P’s inability to clear the lines and enable the Guard to get rid of the debris. He said it worked well when the utility could clear the lines.
Malloy praised municipalities for doing a good job of clearing their roads when the debris was not related to downed wires.
There have been complaints about CL&P’s inability to coordinate with municipalities and the National Guard when downed wires are involved.
Malloy believes there’s a way the company can change how it manages its coordination efforts because at the moment it can’t even track where out-of-state trucks are located. The inability to pinpoint its resources was a bone of contention with some municipal leaders.
“A device reasonably inexpensive that would allow us to track that vehicle once it comes into the state could be applied to that vehicle for the purposes of its durational stay,” Malloy said. “And all of a sudden you have an increased ability to tell people where trucks are.”
He said that’s just one example of what can be done.