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Patch's Poll: Should CL&P Add More Linemen?

The utility's workers say staffing levels are down from last year when two storms knocked out power to half the state, but CL&P says it will call for outside help if needed.

About 200 CL&P workers rallied at the state Capitol on Monday to protest staffing levels at the utility, which has 1.2 million customers in Connecticut.

The linemen said that staffing is down from last year — when the state was pummeled by two devastating storms — and that safety is an issue, the Connecticut Post and other media outlets reported.

CL&P responded on Monday that they are staffed appropriately and will call for outside help in the case of widespread outages.

Union leaders said the company had 416 linemen last year and now has 397, the Post said. The union says CL&P should increase staffing by 20 percent — or about 80 workers — while CL&P has offered to add 30. The union has been without a contract since June 1.

"The union is using the media to distort the facts," CL&P spokeswoman Tricia Taskey-Modifica said on Monday. "We have the number of linemen we need for the work we have. In the event of a storm, we get help from outside."

CL&P came under fire last year for its failure to ensure that enough crews were available from out-of-state to help repair damaged lines after the powerful October snowstorm, which was right on the heels of extensive damage from Tropical Storm Irene.

Do you think CL&P should hire more workers, or should the company focus on keeping its operating costs low and rates down? Take our poll and tell us in the comments.

Pem McNerney September 19, 2012 at 02:58 AM
You make a good point. It's been interesting to watch the CL&P outage maps as the storm rages outside. There were two towns in the northwest corner of the state that were almost 50 percent without power at one point, and most of that has already been restored. Also, the investigations into the problems following Irene and the freak October snowstorm gave credit to the line workers for their work, and recommended a wide variety of improvements be made at the management level, if my recollection is correct.
John Cappiello September 19, 2012 at 03:04 PM
If in fact clp was staffed to the levels of line man they say they need ,why would they offer to add 30 instead of the 80 asked for? It seems that they know they are on the low side .
melinda tillie September 19, 2012 at 07:49 PM
There are never enough line men for CL&P. Many years ago it was much worse when it was only UL. It seems that knowing how the water and wind will automaticallyhit EH and surrounding towns they would definetly hire at this time of year.
Hank Petroskey September 20, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Unless they need them for day to day operations also, no, they should not, otherwise they would be under-utilized for all but a few days a year. The process of bringing in outside contractors and mutual assistance (crews from other utilities) is the best way to go. It works all around the country. The drawback there is the time to get the crews on-site. So, perhaps they need to enter into agreements with more local contract companies, that are high voltage qualified, allowing them to get working within hours of the storm passing. For pop up thunderstorms, which is mostly what we have around here, it is very hard to gear up for something that might not occur and now you just incurred a big expense for nothing. There is no easy answer.
Greg John Ellal September 24, 2012 at 04:01 PM
I think that we need more workers and more crews. This way we are more prepared if something unexpected happens like a blizzard or if we have a huge storm like the last october blizzard or hurricane irene. It took days some people over a week to get street's clean and power back. Honestly that way to long for the price that people are paying for there services. Speed it up!!!

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