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Isaias: Residents, Officials Demanding Answers On Eversource Storm Response

It could take until Tuesday for some in Connecticut to regain power.
It could take until Tuesday for some in Connecticut to regain power. Photo Credit: Eversource

More voices are calling for an internal investigation into Eversource’s response to Tropical Storm Isaias in Connecticut.

With hundreds of thousands of Eversource customers still reporting outages days after the storm rocked the East Coast, officials and residents alike are demanding answers from the utility company.

“Eversource has failed to demonstrate adequate preparation ahead of Tropical Storm Isaias, its response effort so far has been abysmal, and they inexplicably continue to fail to communicate anything of any substance to my administration or the public,” Stamford Mayor David Martin stated.

According to some officials, Eversource has been unable to provide an estimation of when roads will be cleared, there was no timely response to some 911 priority incidents, there was limited coordination between Eversource and its customers, and they were unable to provide information about where crews were being deployed.

“If Eversource is unwilling to provide information to the Public Safety team of one of Connecticut’s largest cities, I can only imagine the frustration and outrage our residents are experiencing — many of whom have no power and no estimate for when it will return,” Martin added.

Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling said on “Chaz and AJ in the Morning,” heard on 991 WPLR FM and 959 WFOX FM, “We’ve held tabletop exercises with Eversource and we’ve had plans in place. But the minute we have something of this magnitude, all the plans go out the window.

“Their silence is deafening,” he said. “I’ve been trying to get a representative to speak with me and I don’t get a call back. It’s absolutely unacceptable and they’ve failed miserably.” 

“We’ve had four major storms in the last 10 years. You’d think you’d figure it out by now," Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said on “Chaz and AJ in the Morning." "You’d think you’d have an answer to this and clearly you don’t.

“You just raise rates, you send out these offensive bills last month and now we turn around and you can’t even keep the power on. All of them ought to resign.” 

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont previously called on the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to conduct an investigation into the state’s utility companies and their response to Isaias.

“There has been a significant failure in communication here, leaving upward of 800,000 Eversource customers without even a clear way to report an outage from the outset of the storm event,” PURA Chairman Melissa Gillett said. “There are disturbing reports emerging about the coordination, or lack thereof, between our electric utilities and the communities which they serve. This is simply unacceptable.”

Gillett said that since taking over at PURA, she has “heard the utilities tout significant investments in grid hardening and vegetation management made at the ratepayers’ expense over the past decade.

“Frankly, I am deeply disappointed in seeing this play out in real-time,” she said. “Utilities are in the business of delivering reliable service, and the public should know that I’m not interested in their excuses. This is fresh off the heels of PURA’s announcement last week about our investigation into the pending rate increase requests.”

Eversource President of Regional Electric Operations Craig Hallstrom said that he understands the disruption that the power outages have caused Connecticut residents.

“We recognize how disruptive power outages are to our customers’ lives and we’re urgently working around-the-clock to get every customer affected by Isaias back online,” he said.

“We have more than a thousand crews currently working on restoration efforts and more crews arriving throughout the day. In addition to restoring service, we continue to focus on working with our communities and public safety officials to clear downed trees and brush and open blocked roads – we remain committed to this massive restoration and will stay on the job until every customer has their power back.” 

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