Officials Demand Probes Into Connecticut Outages

Friday, 04 Nov 2011 02:58 PM

By Andra Varin

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Five days after a freak October snowstorm, hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents remain without power. And tempers are beginning to boil over.

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen has formally asked utility regulators to investigate Connecticut Light & Power Co.'s response to Saturday’s storm.

Downed power lines initially left 831,000 customers in the dark; on Friday morning, 397,000 residents still had no power. The company has vowed to have service restored to 99 percent of all customers by Sunday night.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said CL&P had better make good on its promise.

“Until those numbers are proven wrong, then I’m going to accept them . . . But, I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes if they fail to deliver,” Malloy said, according to the New Haven Register.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Rep. Chris Murphy met with officials in the hard-hit town of Avon on Friday morning. They pledged to fight for reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a federal investigation into CL&P.

"I am going to fight . . . for the kind of emergency relief needed to reimburse these towns for every dollar, nickel, and dime owed," Blumenthal said, according to the Hartford Courant.

Blumenthal said he wants the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to investigate the "integrity and safety" of the state's power lines. The state should undertake an investigation, he said "to ensure that steps are taken . . . to prevent this from happening again."

The South Windsor Fire Department issued a statement warning that the situation remains critical. In South Windsor, it said, the town has cleared tree limbs from the roads, but the utility has not sent crews to deal with downed power lines that could be live.

"As of today, dozens of homes remain inaccessible to fire apparatus because CL&P has failed to deploy crews to work with the town," the release said.

Residents "could die in fires and homes could burn to the ground," it said.

CL&P Chief Opperating Officer Jeffrey Buttler said the utility was doing everything it could..

“I know, given the weather conditions, people are frustrated, but I think we have been doing a very good job of restoring power,” Butler said.



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