On Monday September 19th the legislature held on the responses of the state's two largest utilities— and Connecticut Light and Power—in the . The size and scope of power outages was significant, all across the state, where more than half of Connecticut homes lost power.
In Fairfield, where there was some and many homes throughout the town were without power for up to seven days. When there is such a tremendous lag time between the storm event and getting power up, naturally there are questions about how the process might be improved. Both United Illuminating and Connecticut Light and Power had an enormous task in front of them following the storm, and the workers on the front lines put in exhaustive hours attempting to restore power as quickly as possible.
However, the events following the storm showed serious holes in planning and communication that should be corrected before the next storm. Safety was the primary concern. Getting emergency responders to residents with many roads blocked presented a serious safety problem. Communication was clearly another big difficulty. Customers and contractors were unable to get reliable information, and in many instances no information at all.
and emergency first responders were frustrated following the storm as neither utility had a dependable or accurate way to give real-time updates on power restoration, or even provide rough estimates as to when crews would be working to restore power in certain areas. In many ways the failure of these utilities to communicate information was as frustrating as the power loss itself. It is also obvious that significant work on repairs did not begin until at least two or three days into the week following the storm.
The Energy and Technology, Public Safety, Labor and Planning and Development Committees will hold a Joint Public Hearing regarding the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene Monday, September 26, 2011.
I have received very helpful feedback from constituents and many praised the local response of our Police, Fire, Emergency responders and our town employees. I'm hopeful much will be learned from the hearings on the storm and all groups will work together so the next natural disaster is handled better.
Rep. Brenda Kupchick