Hurricane Sandy devastated Connecticut’s shoreline Monday evening and 475,000 customers were still in the dark Wednesday, but progress is being made and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy expects the two utilities to offer restoration estimates as soon as tomorrow morning.
“The utilities know this is our priority and they are doing everything they can to move as quickly as they can,” Malloy said.
At the height of the storm more than 630,000 customers across the state were without power.
He said the state is doing everything it can to help the utilities restore power and get everyone’s life back to normal as soon as possible.
Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman will tour the hardest hit areas again today to see what they can do to help.
There are still 30 state facilities without power and 29 of the state’s sewage treatment plants are running on back up power. Three people were hospitalized with carbon monoxide poisoning. Cell phone service in the eastern part of the state has also been spotty.
Twenty five school systems opened today, but a majority in hard hit areas like Bridgeport remain closed.
The Red Cross is down to 47 shelters and 1,500 people used them Tuesday evening. There were about 80 trees blocking state roads and most will be cleared today.
Malloy said he’s working to get Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster declarations for the rest of the counties in the state. On Tuesday FEMA granted the declaration for four counties mostly in shoreline areas.
William Quinlan, senior vice president of emergency operations at Connecticut Light & Power, and United Illuminating CEO and President James Torgerson said they expect to give a restoration estimate Thursday morning.
“What we’re going to be discussing tomorrow is our global restoration projection,” Quinlan said.
Both Quinlan and Torgerson personally have no power at their homes. Ironically, Torgerson lives in CL&P territory and said his wife keeps calling him for estimates on when the power will be restored to their home.
“I’m in the same boat as everybody else,” Torgerson said.
The expectation that power be restored quickly seems to have accelerated during this third big storm in less than two years.
“The expectation is really high,” Torgerson said.
He said assessing the damage and engineering the problems down the line takes time. He said it has to be done correctly or outages will occur again.
“We want to make sure if we give an estimate that we’re going to hit it,” he said.
CL&P’s former Chief Operating Officer Jeff Butler miscalculated the restoration times during the October snow storm last year and he paid the price. Shortly, after the storm he resigned.
Click here to read our previous report on storm trauma.
Quinlan also said the 11 transmission lines which were damaged due to falling trees outside their right-of-way have been repaired.
For the first time Tuesday evening Malloy had a chance to view the damage suffered in New York and New Jersey.
“My heart goes out to them,” Malloy said. “As soon as we’re in a position to free assets, which is not today unless its on a specialized basis but in the coming days that we will offer whatever support we can to New York and New Jersey.”
Malloy, who has traded jabs with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, said he will be calling him and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo today.
“Sometimes the fun of the jarring going around between governor’s has to be put aside,” Malloy said. “As we progress in our recovery we will do everything we can to help our neighbors. That’s who we are.”
Local officials will have to make a decision about whether it’s safe to allow kids in their communities to trick-or-treat, Malloy said.
Malloy himself will be participating in the festivities.
He has about 1,100 candy bars to hand out at the governor’s residence in Hartford.
“I will be open for business,” he quipped. “I am returning to the closest thing as normal on Halloween.”