CL&P staging areas helping with power restoration - CBS 5 - KPHO

CL&P staging areas helping with power restoration

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MADISON, CT (WFSB) -

Connecticut Light & Power officials said they believe the utility company is making good progress on power restoration due in part to the staging areas set up in the most affected communities.

Those areas are Madison, Waterford, Westport and Newtown.

As of 5 p.m., CL&P was reporting 156,303 customers in the dark, which is 12 percent of its customers. United Illuminating was reporting 62,131 outages, which is just over 19 percent of its customers.

Crews working for CL&P dispatched out of the Hammonasset State Park staging area are working along the shoreline from Branford to Clinton, as well as in Killingworth.

"It's very much like a military operation in the field," Frank Poriot of CL&P said. "We've got the mess tent, a motor pool, we're warehousing or bringing out supplies."

Barbara Colley of Branford is one of the thousands of CL&P customers who has been without power since Hurricane Sandy hit.

"We could see there were two trees," she said. "One fell on top of the other, and both hit the wires"

On Friday, Colley was happy to see crews arriving in her neighborhood to start repairing the damage left by the storm and wanted to show her appreciation.

"And I said 'I'm so sorry, I would love to make you cookies,'" she said. "And he said 'Oh, well don't worry, we're well fed where we are.'"

Before the crews receive their assignments, they get breakfast, a boxed lunch and supplies for their trucks.

Then, they work a 16-hour shift, head back to the staging area for dinner and are bused to their hotels.

"All these crews are from out of state, so we don't want them to be spending a lot of time trying to figure out, where do I stay? Where do I eat? We even do their laundry," Poriot said.

However one state legislator is not happy with the progress of CL&P.

"Almost five days after the storm hit, far too many families are left in the dark," said Ed Meyer (D- Guilford). "It is unacceptable that power will not be restored until next week - especially in light of performance standards for utility companies that I fought for last session."

Madison is still reporting 45 percent of the town in the dark and more of the same in several surrounding towns.

In addition, 51 percent of Guilford remains without power, while Clinton is at 43 percent. East Lyme is reporting 22 percent in the dark with 53 percent in Killingworth, 68 percent in Old Lyme and 58 percent in North Stonington.

"Tropical Storm Irene and the October snowstorm exposed major weaknesses in CL&P's storm response plan," said Meyer. "After those storms and after Hurricane Sandy I have seen service trucks parked along the road, not doing anything because in both instances CL&P has been unable to give crews specific assignments. I'm afraid CL&P has not learned their lesson."State Senator

CL&P officials say it hopes to have 98 percent of its customers back online by Tuesday, while officials from UI said they were still on track for 95 percent restoration by midnight Monday.

No workers have been injured on the job and they are all given training before they start working for UI. However, there have been reports that residents have been throwing things and threatening utility crews.

During Hurricane Irene, staging areas were set up for out of state crews. But crews are fanned out across the state before the storm hit.

This year, staging areas will be set up as long as needed.

CL&P is expected to hold another press conference at 2 p.m. in Westport on Saturday, however UI does not have any plans to hold a press conference over the weekend.

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