CONNECTICUT — Gov. Ned Lamont declared a State of Emergency and has brought in the National Guard following the fast-moving weather system that stormed through the state late Thursday afternoon.
Less than 20,000 homes and business are still without power at 3:00 p.m. on Friday. Eversource said most of their customers not living in Branford can expect power restoration by midnight Friday. UI officials said they expect most of the customers who lost service on Thursday to be restored Friday, and restoration should be substantially complete Saturday. The exception will be customers in areas where damage is so severe that crews will have to rebuild the electric system. Those customers can expect to get their power back by Monday.
Immediately following the storm, the governor deployed approximately 100 personnel from the Connecticut National Guard Response Force and two search and rescue teams to East Haven and Branford to assist in the response. Route clearance teams were also sent to North Haven.
“This powerful storm that moved so quickly into our state yesterday evening caused severe damage in certain communities and left thousands without power, just a couple of weeks following similar damage from Tropical Storm Isaias,” Governor Lamont said. “I remain in consistent communication with town leaders and utility officials so that we can move resources to where they are most needed at this time.”
They’re certainly needed in Branford, the town clobbered hardest by the storm. Eversource is reporting 4,914 homes and businesses, or 30 percent of the town, were still without power as of 3:00 p.m. Friday. NBC Connecticut Chief Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan reported 90 mph wind gusts were recorded in the town.
“With the arrival this morning of additional crews from Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Eversource estimates that its hundreds of line and tree crews will substantially complete restoration for all towns in Connecticut by midnight tonight, with the exception of Branford where the extensive damage will take additional time to fully restore and is expected to be substantially complete by Saturday night,” an Eversource spokesman said.
Across their service region, Eversource is reporting 9,166 without power, or less than 1 percent. United Illuminating is reporting 10,488 customers in the dark, or 3.10 percent.
United Illuminating expects to have nearly 600 line and tree workers, damage assessors and other field personnel working on restoration Friday.
The vast majority of the UI outages were concentrated in Hamden, North Haven, New Haven, North Branford and Shelton.
UI President and CEO Tony Marone, said the devastation in those communities is severe and highly concentrated.
“During the day today, we’ll bring the number of outages down significantly, but there are parts of the system where the damage is really extensive, so we’ll need to rebuild the infrastructure in those areas. That will likely take a day or two,” Marone said. “We have all the resources we need and, considering the limited area of focus, we’ve got as many crews as can safely work, especially in a COVID environment.”
Most Connecticut residents have barely had time to restock on gasoline and batteries from the extended outages earlier this month following Tropical Storm Isaias. Some areas were without electricity for 10 days.
The new outages come at a particularly poor time for Eversource, whose recent rate increases, combined with long outage times following Isaias, have inspired widespread customer outrage and scrutiny by the Power Utility Regulatory Authority. The top brass from that utility were grilled all day Thursday by the Energy and Technology Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly.
Residents are advised to stay away from downed power lines and immediately report them by calling 911. Power outages can be reported online to Eversource and United Illuminating. Eversource customers can report outages by calling 800-286-2000 and UI customers can call 800-722-5584.