Power outlook brightens in Stonington

Stonington — First Selectman Ed Haberek was much happier today as CL&P assigned 19 crews to restore power in town.

"We're in a full court process to get the lights back on," said Haberek, who has been critical of Connecticut Light & Power's response over the past few days.

"I'm very pleased with the amount of crews we have today for restoration," he said. "CL&P is looking at us as being a critical area."

At one point this morning, more than 20 utility trucks were parked behind the Human Services Department, which is being used as staging area. Crews were then sent out to fix problems.

"We've made some significant progress in town today," said Rich Rogozinski, the town's CL&P liaison late this afternoon. That news though did not stop frustrated residents from making a steady stream of calls to the emergency operations center asking when their power will be restored.

"We're telling them that we're doing the best we can," said Emergency Operations Director George Brennan, who added that some of the callers have been ornery.

Fifty-three percent of customers here are still without power but outage figures typically lag behind real-time restoration. All blocked roads in town have now been cleared but wires are still down on trees.

Downtown Pawcatuck had power restored last night. Much of Mystic has been restored including the Stone Ridge retirement community and Pendleton rehabilitation facility.

Crews spent much of Friday working to restore power along the Route 1 corridor and along Greenhaven Road. Rogozinski said one priority is to restore power to the Stonington borough firehouse.

It could still be a while before power is restored to the borough and Masons Island as they are towards the end of circuits.

Borough Warden Paul Burgess said he spoke to a utility worker in the borough today who was optimistic that power could be restored tonight to some parts of the borough. He said some borough restaurants are using generators.

He said the storm has been a big boost for local landscapers, contractors and tree-cutting firms, many of whom are in the borough clearing trees.

Haberek said today he would again be willing to look at the feasibility of extending electrical service provided by Groton Utilities into Stonington to replace CL&P.

He said there would be large infrastructure costs and it would have to make economic sense for both the utility and the town.

Customers of Groton Utilities quickly had their power restored after the storm and had crews in Stonington Friday assisting with the restoration effort. Many Stonington residents receive phone, cable television and Internet service from Thames Valley Communications, a subsidiary of Groton Utilities.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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