With Tropical Storm Irene winding down most people’s thoughts are turning to the obvious: When will I get my power back on?
The simple answer, courtesy of CL&P, the state’s largest utility, is at least a week to get all 622,000 CL&P customers back online.
Company officials today said that some 800 crews, some of whom came from as far away as Florida and Michigan, are starting to fan out across the state right now to begin the work of restoring power. But their first priority, a CL&P spokeswoman said, will be to assess the extent of damage and then work with local public works crews in towns to clear trees from roadways and make streets safe and passable again.
After that the crews will begin tackling the problem of restoring power.
“In preparing for this hurricane, we were able to more than double the size of our workforce, said Jeff Butler, CL&P president and chief operating officer. “Now that it is safe for our crews to be out, we’re able to mobilize all of our available resources. At the same time, we continue trying to get additional crews to expedite our efforts.”
While it will take a week, and possibly longer, for everyone to get their power back, some customers will get it back sooner, CL&P officials said.
The widespread power outage from Irene is the largest CL&P has seen since Hurricane Gloria struck the state in 1985, knocking out power to more than 477,000 customers.
In all, more than 700,000 homes and businesses in Connecticut are without electricity today. That figure includes about 90,000 customers of United Illuminating.
CL&P crews will be responding to priority calls and cutting the power to downed lines to make areas safe. Restoring power to critical customers such as hospitals, police and fire departments will be a top priority.
Restoration efforts will continue around the clock, CL&P said in a press release just issued, though most of its workforce will be deployed during the day.
“The damage from this storm was unprecedented and the restoration process may take a week or longer in some areas,” said Butler. “We ask for and appreciate the understanding and patience of our customers during this difficult process.”
In the meantime, the company reminds residents that they should:
· Stay at least 10 feet away from all wires! Assume any downed, hanging or burning power lines are live and dangerous. If a power line falls on your vehicle while you’re inside, stay there. Don’t touch anything outside the vehicle and wait for emergency crews. Call 9-1-1 immediately with any emergency condition.
· Report outages or check the status of an outage, visit cl-p.com or call 800-286-2000. Our automated phone and online systems can rapidly process your report and help us speed restoration efforts.
· Check your generator. Make sure it has been properly installed by a licensed electrician. Improperly installed generators can feed electricity back into power lines and pose a deadly situation for line and emergency restoration workers. Always operate generators outdoors to avoid carbon monoxide hazards.
For more information, including updates on outages and power restoration progress, go to CL&Ps website, follow them on Twitter and on Facebook. You can also get updates on outages in your town by texting “outage” and your zip code to 24612.