More than five days after Tropical Storm Isaias devastated Connecticut with high winds that took down trees and power lines, power restoration efforts continue.
By Ronni Newton
The temperature, and tempers, rose over the weekend for West Hartford residents who remained without power days after Tropical Storm Isaias roared into the state with winds topping 60 mph that knocked down trees and power lines, causing extensive damage in every corner of West Hartford.
While the vast majority of West Hartford resident and businesses had power restored by Sunday night, as of 10:45 p.m. there were still 1,155 Eversource customers in town (4.01%) without electricity – and therefore without air conditioning as they face a heat advisory forecast for noon Monday through 8 p.m. Tuesday.
West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor has been sending out a daily message to residents via Everbridge, and Sunday noted the following:
“True to our West Hartford spirit, I have heard many acts of kindness by our residents extended to line workers and to our public works crews and first responders. I thank you for your generosity.”
Sunday’s restoration work, much of which is being done by crews from other states as well as Canada, focused on the “Fern Street backbone,” Cantor said, as well as the northeast corner of town, north of Park Road.
“We expect more progress this evening and tomorrow,” Cantor said Sunday. “I wish to assure you that the town will remain in contact with Eversource until every customer is restored.”
Some residents took to Facebook to express their frustration, and many also flagged down line crews to try to find out more information about restoration efforts.
In response to statements made on Facebook regarding transformers and utility poles being on backorder, Eversource spokesperson Mitch Gross told We-Ha.com Sunday in an email that “there is absolutely no truth to the rumors about our equipment supplies.”
Eversource representatives said late last week that power would be substantially restored throughout the state (to all but 1% of customers) by Tuesday at 11:59 p.m., and followed that statement with town-by-town estimates. As of Sunday evening, West Hartford’s restoration is scheduled to be substantially complete by 6 p.m. Tuesday. Some of those remaining may be individual customers with more complex problems.
“We serve 149 of Connecticut’s towns and cities and all of these communities are affected to some degree,” Gross told We-Ha.com in an email, when asked about the pace of work and the number of crews operating in town. “Some locations require a complete rebuilding of the electric delivery system – poles, wires, transformers, everything. Unfortunately, that work takes more time. We understand the sense of urgency and the need to get our customers back on – as quickly and as safely as we can. We currently have some 2,400 crews – line crews and tree crews on the job around the state and they’ll stay on the job as long as it takes.”
In a press release issued Sunday afternoon, Eversource said they expected to have power restored to 90% of customers by Sunday evening. At 10:45 p.m., that goal had been met with 7.6% (97,327 customers) still in the dark.
Cantor, in her Sunday message, also noted “as power restoration moves forward, residents may experience temporary disruption of restored services or may see that their status is marked as ‘restored’ when they are still without power. In either case, Eversource should be notified. Call 1-800-286-2000 or go to their website, eversource.com.”
Residents who need additional work due to damage to electrical meters or a detached service cable, and who need permits or inspections, should contact the town at 860-561-7504.
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