Patch's Poll: Is CL&P At Fault For These Massive Outages?

As of Sunday night, more than 800,000 in Conn. still without power

CL&P said Sunday night more than 831,000 customers were still without power.

In a press releases, the company said "the unusually wet, heavy snow on trees still full with leaves – creating tree weights twice the normal levels – created historic damage to the electrical system, particularly in the northwest and north central portions of the state."

"Making good on a pledge following Tropical Storm Irene, within 12-14 hours after the end of the storm, CL&P has at least one crew assigned to the vast majority of affected towns, with a primary focus of coordinating with the town to address emergency situations and facilitate the reopening of roads by municipalities.  In addition, every town that has requested a town liaison has one now."

"At present, CL&P crews are working with municipalities to clear blocked roads and identify problems areas.  There are currently more than 300 crews working (189 line and 114 tree crews) and 600 additional crews are committed to join the effort.  The company continues to request additional assistance, but with neighboring utility crews committed to their own restoration efforts the search is being expanded to unaffected regions of the country."

"Damage from the storm was far more extensive than forecasted.  The Connecticut Department of Transportation estimates that tree damage is five times greater than Irene.  Peak outages were about 831,000 throughout the electrical system.  As of 8:45 p.m., service has been restored to more than 110,000 customers."

“We are encouraging customers to be prepared for the worst case, which would be outages lasting more than one week in some of the areas,” Butler said.  “As we get through our damage assessments, we will be able to provide more specific restoration information for our customers.  While we expect most affected customers will be restored in less time, we are encouraging patience as we work as quickly and as safely as possible to restore power.”

To report outages or check the status of an outage, visit cl-p.com or call 800-286-2000.  Our automated phone and online systems can rapidly process your report and help us speed restoration efforts.  For helpful tips and news updates, go to our website at cl-p.com, follow us on Twitter at CTLightandPower and like us at Facebook.com/CTLightandPower.  You can also get updates on outages in your town by texting “outage” and your zip code to 24612 (texting fees may apply).

Sharon Pealer October 31, 2011 at 08:58 PM
CL&P did not cause the storm so it did not cause the outages. That said, The Governor, weathermen and even CL&P were out ahead of the storm warning of the possibility of massive outages. If they knew that this was possible, why wait until after the storm to send out a crew to the towns? Crews stationed in the towns could have facilitated road clearing when the storm cleared. Preparation before the storm should be better planned. From what I have seen reported no town was completely spared damage so having a crew ready for the dawn would have saved time and enabled town crews to better clear roads that were blocked. This storms damage map is almost a photographic negative of the map after Irene and unfortunately for those hardest hit the repair seems to be following the exact same pattern. Towns with little damage being restored early with little to no sighting of work crews in the hard hit towns. I really feel for those without power now, I remember all too well how difficult it was to live without. It feels like you are cut off from the world. My hope for all of them is that soon they feel the same joy I did when I saw the convoy of repair trucks drive through the street the night before our power was restored.
mrshess October 31, 2011 at 09:12 PM
Towns and state governments have to start putting aside money to put electrical lines underground. What good does it do my neighborhood, which has underground cables, if state roads, like Route 81, don't have buried cables? We lose our electricity anyway, not just from storms, but from car accidents. It is an expensive fix, but it is a fix, as long as your neighbors don't dig where they shouldn't, as one of my neighbors did, and you still lose power and it is harder to find and fix.
Nerissa October 31, 2011 at 09:37 PM
I truly believe that instead of just lightly trimming branches trees that could fall on lines need to be completely cut down. Connecticut is much more wooded now that when those lines were erected and those trees are mostly new growth. If CL&P doesn't want to do it - maybe we need a law that says that neighbors are liable for power outages if their untrimmed trees (more that 10 feet from the lines) fall on the lines. There should be no difference between a neglect to maintain trees than neglecting to shovel a sidewalk.
Keep the river front for all of us October 31, 2011 at 10:27 PM
John Yannacci, Sr. October 31, 2011 at 11:00 PM
I have limbs that hang over the power lines. When I called Northeast Utilities they told me that they were my responsibility yet, I see them cutting trees back all over the place.
jbm October 31, 2011 at 11:35 PM
So.... having been OUT for ten days for IRENE and saw the whole process (chainsaws, bull dozer, chippers, new pole, new transformer, rewiring etc. I can' tell how many trips were made by supervisors to look, people showed up to look at our transformer (with environmental suites on) five hours after another group had taken it away-- they wasted enormous amounts or time standing , talking and waiting. Communication between CL&P and between crews was horrible.
Jim November 01, 2011 at 12:45 AM
After reading all these comments, I totally understand why the world sees us as spoiled brats. What are you all going to do when we get a real disaster. Suck it up and deal with it. Stuff happens and CL&P and the governor and all involved have done a great job
BJ November 01, 2011 at 12:54 AM
GL: After reading your comment I see why America has gone to hell! Why do you accept mediocrity? CT pays nearly the highest electric rates in the nation, ever wonder why? Yet we also have the worst service and “up time,” ever wonder why? There is NO excuse for it, there is NO excuse as to why the lines are NOT underground, it defies ALL logic that they are not, but they will never be, ever wonder why?
Susan Koplowitz November 01, 2011 at 01:28 AM
Don't cut the trees to prevent the problems. The power companies need to start looking at alternatives. They get millions in reimbursements from the insurance companies to avoid billing the state and its residents. It's time to put the lines UNDERGROUND! It's done down south in new developments, why? Because the underground lines dont come down with trees every time the wind blows!
Nerissa November 01, 2011 at 01:38 AM
Or perhaps we all need to start looking at alternatives to the power company! Solar panels and mini windmills would be a start.
Fran M. November 01, 2011 at 03:36 AM
First off, Clinton is blessed to have been (mostly) spared this time around. Sorry to any in town that did not fare so well. I think the pollster is asking the wrong question. It's not "is CL&P at fault for the outages?" Outages happen. CT winter storms in Oct aren't conditions to be planned for. It's more like: "does CL&P deserve blame for the prolonged outages?" Bad communication/planning, slow response, and not having crews in place may have extended outages for much longer than they had to be. Now the Governor and CL&P have news conferences 3x/day, an obvious (over)reaction to the heat they took from Irene's lack of communication. Nice, but probably not getting the power back any faster, right? The approach seems to be: "give people the grim news up front, and they'll be less ticked off about it later". If my power has to be restored by a crew from Canada or Colorado, that's extra *days* just for them to get onsite. My street's power lines are indeed underground, but the main "trunk" lines in my town aren't, so it doesn't help much. As I heard on TV after Irene, underground lines near water / potential flooded areas aren't the answer either. Who would pay for the process of burying existing power lines anyway? Even if CL&P "pays" the bill, guess who they would eventually pass that cost onto?
Elissa Bass November 01, 2011 at 10:36 AM
Fran, I agree. Your phrasing is better. Thank you.
Jim November 01, 2011 at 12:08 PM
You think we have high electrical rates now. I would hate to see how high they would go after the expense of putting the lines under ground. Especially in the rocky hills of ct. It is just not feasible. Who do you think would pay for this? There is no business case to support this.
John Yannacci, Sr. November 01, 2011 at 12:29 PM
nola123 Mini windmills? Most of Waterford is at or near sea level. Do you really think there is enough wind here to actually generate enough electricity to run a house? As far as solar panels, I hear that Solyndra is having a going out of business sale on them.
Nerissa November 01, 2011 at 12:50 PM
John, sea level provides opportunities for wind off the water. You can even make your own quite cheaply out of PVC pipe. Maybe enough to power a laptop or household (low-E) lights. I've lived in buildings throughout highschool and college that were mostly powered by solar, wind, and wood furnaces. The technology has even improved since then - totally feasible for average homeowner to do.
Jeffrey Skau November 01, 2011 at 12:54 PM
Its not CL+P's fault we have had an unusual year so far. 2 storms of the magnitude we have faced has not happened in a long time. CL+P crews are out there doing the best they can. They can not go out and start to repair lines until the storm is over, its not safe to be out there while trees are coming down. Did they warn in advance yes, that way us the people can be prepared ie get batteries for radios, get your generator ready put gas in your cars etc The power company can not just go out and cut trees down either. There are too many groups against cutting down trees. the underground wires wont work here especially on the shoreline. Everyone is already upset that the winds took down the lines, how upset will you all be when the flooding waters wash away everything? After all if we get hit with a good sized storm the Town of Clinton will have significant flooding. We all need to suck it up for the week utilize the shelters offerd by the Towns and move on. Life goes on and as long as our families are safe we should be thankful!!!
Waterford Rez November 01, 2011 at 01:02 PM
I said this after Irene and received some criticism. Put the power lines under ground and/or cut the trees down! This is NOT rocket science. I know for a fact that CL&P does not want to spend $$$ cutting and trimming trees. Pay a little now or massive amounts later (which we will pay for via tax $$$ or higher rates). Yes, this will cost money but that is part of living in a society with electricity and the reality of living in New England. You don't buy a house and not invest $$$ in it the next 100 years. This is a joke. It is 2011, I think we can figure this out....maybe I should just ask my iPhone "How can CT avoid massive power failures during a storm"...I bet Siri knows....
Adam Hoeksema November 01, 2011 at 05:44 PM
It is incredible that a snow storm in October could have possibly done so much damage. It sounds like we need a new outage management system - http://www.gissmartgrid.com/2011/10/east-coast-outage/
BJ November 01, 2011 at 07:06 PM
GL: Do your homework, we have already paid more than enough (many times over) to bury the cables, and until we get the government out of our lives, we will continue to pay for things we will never get.
Phil Sengle November 01, 2011 at 08:18 PM
It is CL&P's fault as to the entent of the outages if they are not trimming trees properly and as frequently as they did in the past. Last year there was a large tree trimming project on Rt. 81 in Haddam and Killingworth. They cut back trees significantly on the electrical line side of the road. But when they got to the Clinton Town line they stopped. The town should ask why.
Jim November 01, 2011 at 11:48 PM
I have done my homework for the past 27 years. We agree on the government part. Thats where it ends.... Have a nice day
Nerissa November 02, 2011 at 12:18 AM
According to today's press conference - CL&P neglected to pay the bills to contracted crews for Irene until yesterday(or the day before?) and they are paying one tomorrow. I wonder why they aren't getting the requested number of crews from out of state? http://www.youtube.com/user/WTNH#p/a/u/0/YHwLPAkYXm8
Keep the river front for all of us November 02, 2011 at 12:08 PM
CL&P trimmed the trees on my road in Haddam two years ago. HOWEVER, if there were branches on trees that were on MY property, they would leave a form for me to "give them permission" to trim the branches. I could say NO. As you drive down the road you will see a spot with branches sitting on the lines.......guess the homeowner said "NO".
Phil Sengle November 05, 2011 at 07:38 PM
I feel vindicated for questioning tree trimming (lack thereof) by CL&P. Press reports now say the state will investigate their inadequate tree trimming practices. Even the Governor complained about it.
Jim November 05, 2011 at 11:25 PM
Dont feel too good....This is all show...they need someone to blame...other than Mother Nature...It was a once in a century storm...suck it up and deal with it. Stop whining
Rick Newton November 05, 2011 at 11:46 PM
CL&P has to submit an annual tree trimming plan to the CT DEEP. http://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/rpt/2011-R-0330.htm How about changing some of the laws to make it easier for CL&P to trim trees? Also, why did it take the governor so long to call out the CT National Guard to help clear roads?
Lighthouse November 06, 2011 at 05:16 AM
Deficiency in American resiliency is apparent at many levels. This outage has been yet another example. You've spent a good deal of time telling citizens to stop whining over a situation that has caused death and billions in lost revenue. Perhaps instead of fighting whining with whining , you might better serve your fellow neighbors by offering suggestions to prevent a once in a century situation from occurring twice in the same year.
Phil Sengle November 06, 2011 at 12:07 PM
To G. L. - I didn't know I was whining - good to know. Most of Clinton was lucky this time, we never lost power. 6 1/2 days from Irene was enough but at least it was warm. I think if you are out of power at November's temperatures, youi would be whining too, and rightfully so. I agree with "Lighthouse" on this one. As I mentioned somewhere before I think the slide of CL&P and their service levels started with deregulation mandated by our legislature. And of course we never got the significant price reductions some politicians used to justify the deregulation. As a former employee of SNET and AT&T, I can tell you that after deregulaiton of that industry, service and maintenance started their decline.
Janet November 10, 2011 at 12:21 PM
People need to responsibly take care of their trees. It is going to be a windy day tomorrow, and if trees are hanging by a thread, they are in jeopardy. If you want your power, make sure your trees are not hanging over the wires. And if you see trees along your main roads that look unstable, all the town and CL&P to report. It is not practical to put all the towns wires under ground, and that comes with a whole new set of problems... when there is a problem, they can't see where it is.


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