Ledyard officials vent during Blumenthal tour of affected towns

Montville Fire Marshal Ray Occhialini, right, shows U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal an electrical grid map supplied to the town by CL&P as the senator visits the town Emergency Operations Center Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 on a tour of hurricane Sandy damaged towns.

Town officials in Ledyard and Montville told U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal today they were frustrated that Connecticut Light & Power gave them misinformation — or no information — about when power would be restored.

Two-thirds of Ledyard residents were still without power Friday morning following Hurricane Sandy, and Mayor John Rodolico said they need information so residents can plan, information that CL&P “doesn’t seem prepared to give us.”

“We’re asking questions and we can’t necessarily get answers,” he told Blumenthal. “Tell us, especially with some of our large circuits … what the turnaround time will be to get the work done.”

Blumenthal, D-Conn., visited the town halls in Ledyard and Montville to check in on the recovery efforts. CL&P said Friday that it would send more out-of-state electrical line workers to southeastern and southwestern Connecticut; power restoration in central and western portions of the state have been largely completed.

Rodolico said he is told the power will be restored in 98 percent of the state Tuesday.

“But that’s not Ledyard,” he said, adding that he has considered whether the town should switch to Groton Utilities.

Some in town are feeling “forgotten,” Rodolico said. No one from the governor’s office has called to check in with the town, he said, even though Ledyard is “a cash cow for the state” as the site of Foxwoods Resort Casino.

“It’s a real concern that people don’t have any timetable for power to be restored. That’s the common denominator between this storm and the last, the lack of a timetable,” Blumenthal said, referring to tropical storm Irene.

Montville Mayor Ronald McDaniel told the senator his biggest problem was that the crews didn’t get to the town until later than he was told they would arrive. He said he has fielded more than 300 phone calls from irate residents, 39 percent of whom were still without power Friday morning.

“Early on we had some issues. After a little huffing and puffing and screaming and yelling, it got better,” he said.

McDaniel said the CL&P liaisons to the town update him as soon as they get information, but that information “has been spotty getting down to them.” CL&P did provide maps to show which streets are on which circuits, which McDaniel said the town has never had before. The town can now tell CL&P which circuits power critical infrastructure.  

Blumenthal said Rodolico and McDaniel echoed concerns he has been hearing throughout the state about CL&P and the United Illuminating Company.

“There was initially a lack of organization and communication,” he said. “There were a lot of crews and workers here on paper, but nobody knew where they were.”

Blumenthal, who also visited Preston and Norwich on Friday, said he plans to call for a hearing on the utility companies’ response to the hurricane in the northeast because clearly it has been “far from perfect.” He said he has been impressed with the public utilities and their performance could be used as a “blueprint.”

“The needle has moved in the right direction but it still has a ways to go, judging by what I’ve heard from local officials and residents,” he said.

Carol Christiansen, a Ledyard resident who stopped by the town hall after Blumenthal left, said she called CL&P three times. She lost power at her home on Route 117 Monday.

“They tell me they don’t have an assessment for when the power will be back on and to not drive over the power lines in my driveway,” she said.

Many people are worse off, Christiansen said, “It’s just the frustration of not knowing what’s going on.”



Loading comments...
Hide Comments