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Ledyard and Stonington still looking for answers on power restoration after storm

Thirty-six hours after it first went out, dozens of residents in the region were still without power due to Wednesday night's severe wind- and rainstorm, and as of Friday afternoon, some towns were looking for answers as to when they might get it back.

On Friday afternoon, more than 200 homes across the state were still without electricity, Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross said.

"There's been extensive damage across the state, affecting practically all the 149 towns that Eversource services," Gross said. "We have in-state and out-of-state utility crews working around the clock right now. ... Unfortunately, none of these are quick fixes."

Ledyard Mayor Fred Allyn III said about 200 households in his town had lost power during the storm, and according to Eversource's outage map, about 23 were still impacted Friday evening. He said the neighborhood around Shewville Road, Fanning Road and Coachman Pike historically has had a lot of problems with outages, and there are localized outages scattered elsewhere throughout town.

Areas of Stonington were in a similar situation Friday, with dozens of outages remaining, according to Eversource, after nearly 1,600, or about 14 percent of the town, initially lost power early Thursday. 

Stonington appears to have been the hardest town hit in the region, with numerous roads blocked, several trees down and some boats washed ashore. According to Eversource outage maps, areas still affected Friday included Pawcatuck Middle School, North Anguilla Road, Lords Point and Masons Island, among others. Eversource's outage map showed 53 remaining outages in the town at 8 p.m. Friday.

"In most cases, it's been wind-driven rain that's pushed the trees into the lines. Throughout the state it's broken trees, lines down, some utility polls are broken," Gross said, explaining that some customers have more complex outages that may take longer to restore. "I can tell you that it continues to be a non-stop effort to get the power back on, and we understand how difficult it can be to be without power."

Stonington First Selectman Rob Simmons was not immediately available for comment Friday.

Stonington resident Jane Lassen Bobruff, who lives on Al Harvey Road, which she said "is not a small street," was without power for most of Friday afternoon, as well as a "number of other areas still out throughout town." Lassen Bobruff said later her power came back on around 4:30 p.m.

She said that while a generator has helped her survive the last couple days, she worried about other residents unable to afford a generator or those not allowed to have one because of where they may live in town. "Answering that people should get generators is not a satisfactory answer in my book," she said.

Gross said Friday afternoon that the vast majority of customers without power will have electricity restored by 6 a.m. Saturday and that crews from Michigan, New York, Ohio and Virginia were assisting Eversource workers.

In Ledyard, Allyn said sustained winds also impacted Eversource's efforts to restore power. He said wind speeds above 20 or 25 mph have made it unsafe for line crews to use lifts, and other power companies around coastal New England, such as National Grid in Rhode Island, were having the same problems.

Allyn and impacted residents said they've been concerned about Eversource's lack of updates on an estimated time of restoration. The company has a municipal liaison that the town has been working with, and the mayor has been in touch with the company via phone, text and email, but he only got updated restoration estimates about 11 a.m. Friday.

With overnight work completed, 85 households on Flintlock Road are now back online, and 17 households on Shewville Road should have had power by 4 p.m., Allyn said. There was no estimated time of restoration for 21 "orphan" households scattered around town.

Allyn said he's worried about the impact of a stronger storm if an extended outage happens with a smaller storm like this one. Recalling the Halloween storm of 2011, he said the town might have to revisit advising residents on storm preparedness, such as buying a backup generator and keeping stock of water and food for extended blackouts.


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