HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Tuesday that he is disappointed in the number of out-of-state crews that have arrived to help Connecticut restore power to hundreds of thousands of customers, saying promises of help following a weekend nor’easter have not been fulfilled.
As of midday, about 675,000 Connecticut Light and Power and 3,600 United Illuminating customers remained without electricity, the largest block of outages in the region.
“We’re underwhelmed by the support that we’re getting from outside the state,” Malloy said. “We’ve been disappointed in the execution of some of the promises that have been made.”
Malloy called on the U.S. Department of Energy to intercede and the agency’s deputy assistant secretary said Tuesday that more assistance is coming to the region. He said 6,000 workers, managed by The Edison Electric Institute _ an association of electric companies _ are “on the hook” to come to the region to remove trees and debris and restore power.
“If you look at the outages in Connecticut, which basically equal the outages of all the other places combined, you really don’t have yet a fair distribution of workers, mutual assistance teams out here doing this,” said Bill Bryan, the DOE’s deputy assistant secretary. “We will be making some calls and making sure that we can get that adjusted.”
Bryan said local utilities have been overwhelmed, calling it “a tremendous undertaking” to restore power following a snow storm that pulled down countless trees, many still with leaves. Bryan said it will take longer to get power back up compared to the remnants of Hurricane Irene because transmission lines have been damaged. Only 13 of 29 downed transmission lines are back up and running.
He said the transmission lines must be restored before the distribution lines can be fixed.
“They have to get the transmission grid up,” he said. “If that’s in another area, outside of the region, that’s got to be up and running first.”
Asked for a projection as to when power will finally be restored in Connecticut, Malloy and Bryan did not give a specific date.
“I don’t think it’s going to be weeks. Some folks, maybe,” said Bryan. He said once more out-of-state crews get in place in Connecticut, the restoration numbers will jump rapidly.
Katie Blint, a spokeswoman for CL&P, 570 crews from other companies were helping the utility’s 200 regular crews Tuesday, and the total number of crews was expected to hit 1,200 by the end of the week. But some customers, she said, may not see their power back until next week.
“We’ve had to go to as many as 15 states to request crews,” Blint said. “We certainly understand the hardship this is causing and we’re doing our best out there.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)