HARTFORD, CT — Telecommunications companies AT&T and Verizon said Thursday they have enough backup generation to keep their cellular towers up and running if they can’t reconnect to the electrical grid for days.
In a letter to the president Wednesday seeking federal assistance in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias, Gov. Ned Lamont said “Cell towers are losing capabilities. Four correctional facilities are on generator power. Thirty-one public water systems providing service to tens of thousands of residents are on generators.”
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes said they reiterated to Eversource executives Wednesday the importance of reconnecting cell towers to the grid “so we don’t have an electric and communications challenge at the same time.”
She said a lot of them are running on backup generation at the moment.
Neither AT&T nor Verizon was able to say how many towers were working on backup generators.
David Weissmann, a spokesman for Verizon, said they have been refueling their backup generators where they have them. He said they won’t stop refueling them until commercial power is restored.
“We have generators in all sites that are practical,” Weissmann said.
Verizon also deployed mobile cell sites to Danbury, which was one of the hardest hit cities in Connecticut. Verizon sent mobile satellite trailers to Mystic and north of Danbury, according to Verizon.
A spokeswoman for AT&T said their wireless network in the Northeast is operating at nearly 96% of normal.
“Our teams have deployed over 300 generators to continue to support our network and keep our customers connected, with hundreds more set to be deployed today. We also have permanent generators and are maintaining our assets where active,” AT&T spokeswoman Megan Daly said in an email. “We have made significant progress restoring wireless service over the past few days but some wireless customers may be experiencing service disruptions caused by storm damage and power outages. With extensive commercial power outages, back-up batteries and generators continue to provide power to many of our facilities.”