Explaining the Slow Response to October Snowstorm in CT: Not Enough Time to Prepare or Unpaid Out-of-State Crews from Irene Holding a Grudge?

Posted by erik devaney

Courtesy of Associated Press

Out-of-state utility crews have had slower power outage response times following this weekend’s record-setting October nor’easter in comparison to response times following Tropical Storm Irene.

The weekend snowstorm caused more than 830,000 outages in Connecticut — a new state record. About 700 extra workers on Tuesday were helping the 200 regular crews of Connecticut Light & Power Co., the state’s largest utility, which had requested 1,000 additional crews.

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, who asked the Department of Energy (DOE) for help in coordinating the cleanup and power restoration response, said Tuesday that he was disappointed that the number of out-of-state crews helping in the state was lower than expected.

“I think that everyone is working in earnest, but I am admitting to you, or saying to you that we are underwhelmed by the contributions being made from outside Connecticut to this effort,” Malloy stated publicly.

According to Bill Bryan, a deputy assistant secretary for the DOE, the reason for this “underwhelming” response is a result of having less time to prepare.

Bryan says utility companies didn’t have time to get additional workers from other regions in place before the snowstorm like they were able to do before Irene in August. The companies had several days to prepare for Irene and only a few days to prepare for the snowstorm, which hit the region harder than was forecast. At midweek last week, some forecasters said the storm was going to miss New England.

“When you know you’ve got a hurricane coming, part of the mutual assistance package is to pre-stage crews,” Bryan said. “So after the hurricane has come and gone, you already have crews on the outskirts ready to come in and start working… This storm hit, and these crews were not mobilized.”

However, not everyone in Connecticut is satisfied with Bryan’s explanation.

Connecticut Light & Power’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Jeffrey Butler, recently addressed accusations that out-of-state crews are not coming to Connecticut’s aid as a result of unpaid bills.

Butler confirmed at a press conference on Tuesday evening that Connecticut Light & Power still had three outstanding invoices left over from Irene.

However, after learning of local concerns that those unpaid bills were potentially impacting crew response times, Butler stated that Connecticut Light & Power paid two of the three invoices on Monday. The third invoice, according to Butler, will likely be paid on Wednesday.

Despite the recent transactions, Butler contends that he was unaware of unpaid invoices being an issue when it came to securing contracts for outside crews following the nor’easter.

Connecticut Light & Power anticipates that 99 percent of its customers will have power restored Sunday.


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

(With additional information from New England Post)

Related posts:

  1. An Updated State-by-State Look at Storm-Related Power Outages in New England
  2. Mass. to Review Utility Response to Irene
  3. Crews Still Have Long Road Ahead in Restoring Power to Northeast; Hundreds of Thousands Could be in the Dark Until Next Week
  4. Conn. Utilities Scrambling to Find Repair Crews
  5. A State-by-State Look at Storm-Related Power Outages in New England

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Posted by erik devaney on Nov 2 2011. Filed under Featured - For home page featured article, General, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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