Malloy: ‘I Wouldn’t Want to Be In [CL&P’s] Shoes' If They Fail

Even the governor said Thursday he was beginning to lose patience with the utility's restoration efforts.

An apologetic CL&P President Jeff Butler said the company was committed to calling in as many crews as were required to meet its self-imposed Sunday restoration deadline, while a frustrated Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said he was running out of patience with the utility and warned against missing the deadline.

"Until those numbers are proven wrong, then I’m going to accept them,” Malloy said of that 99 percent of its customers throughout the state would see power restored by sometime Sunday, which numerous company officials affirmed Thursday the utility was sticking to. “But you can be assured that I’m applying as much pressure, or to use the term that I used yesterday, I’m holding everybody’s feet to the fire on this and I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes if they failed to deliver.”

As many parts of Connecticut struggled through a sixth straight day without power Thursday and CL&P continued to import more crews to aid in power restoration efforts, Malloy held another in his series of press conferences to update the media and the public about restoration and cleanup efforts in the wake of Winter Storm Alfred at the State Armory in Hartford.

Butler, CL&P’s chief executive who has seen pressure mount on him and his company as hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents still remained without power six days after the storm, began his remarks by issuing an apology to CL&P’s customers.

“The thing I’m sorry about is that so many customers here in Connecticut have been out of power for so long, especially when you think about the weather conditions, the forecast that we’ve heard that it’s going to be colder,” Butler said. “…I personally wish that restoration was faster.”

Butler said that CL&P had 1, 495 total crews working on restoration efforts throughout the state Thursday and that as of 6 p.m. CL&P had restored 561,000 customers, but that 397,000 customers remained in the dark. He said CL&P would be adding 200 additional linemen to assist restoration efforts on Friday – 867 two-man line crews were working throughout the state Thursday – and that the company was confident that it would have outage numbers down to 300,000 customers by Friday morning and would meet its Sunday deadline.

“I have not put a cap on crews. We’re brining in whatever resources are available to expedite the restoration to all Connecticut customers as quickly as possible,” he said. “…We continue to strive to achieve the 99 percent restoration for all towns, and I want to reiterate all towns by Sunday at midnight. Will it be a challenge? Absolutely. But that’s why I said that we are doing everything possible to bring in every resource available.”

When asked for his response to , Butler replied that the utility was committed to “bringing in whatever crews we can get” over the next several days to meet the deadline.

“I understand some of the concerns, some of the frustrations from the towns based on where they are today, but our focus is to get 99 percent of every towns customers restored by Sunday night,” he said.

Malloy said he would also be deploying 100 National Guard troops throughout some of the hardest hit areas of the state beginning Thursday night, such as Avon and Simsbury, to help clear debris from the storm.

When asked his opinion of CL&P’s preparedness and response to the storm and its self-imposed Sunday deadline, Malloy said he wished to focus on the immediate need to restore power to Connecticut residents, and that there would be plenty of time for examination or criticism later.

“I think the proof ultimately will be do they get us down to 300,000 tomorrow? Do they get us down to 99 percent by Sunday?” Malloy said. “And then we can all have a field day in taking this thing apart and looking at it in all its pieces from the first weather report to the last person being turned on.”

Lynn Ferrara November 04, 2011 at 03:54 PM
I know that all the utility companys including Charter worked very long and hard. Please give them credit and stop bashing them. We should have better luck with our banks, Wall Street, and the people who have held us captive in the stock market. You can sign me SICK AND TIRED.
Lynn Ferrara November 04, 2011 at 03:56 PM
Please give the UTILITY COMPANIES A BREAK. WORKING HARD with all the problems is like CRAZY DAYS. Not normal and it is almost as though it is a CURSE. HALLOWEEN SPOOKED US
Jim Masullo November 04, 2011 at 04:29 PM
I applaud the hard work being done by all the CL&P line repair workers - thank you for your tireless efforts. But with that being said CL&P management has shown incompetence throughout this and TS Irene. Communication out to the everyday customer has been simply inadequate and the damage assessment and power restoration process has stunningly opaque.
Kim Engle November 04, 2011 at 06:28 PM
Why hasn't the state taken advantage of all the Armory volunteers and Paid firefighters that could be helping clear away brush and downed trees around the streets and fire hydrants. Obviously they need to be careful as to not go near downed wires. I am sure any little bit would help. I think there are a lot of people out there who want to help and just don't know how or where to go.
RedsoxFan November 04, 2011 at 06:59 PM
The firefighters are clearing hydrants of obstructions just like they clear snow in the winter from hydrants, they also have opened up many roads where wires were not at issue (in between responding to substantally more emergency calls) They also have assisted in canvassing the affected areas to find areas where they would have access issues, and updating the road closure list. I actually think all emergency services are doing all they can. But downed power lines, and obstructions involving power lines, can only be dealt with SAFELY by the power companies. And I agree with the above, the line crews are doing the best they can.
James Babashak November 02, 2012 at 05:38 PM
Agree that ALL paid town/county/state workers could be OUT physically helping to clear debris. What is it with all the politicians on TV and radio congratulating themselves on a job welll done? On Wednesday, 10/31/12, I sat at Stamford Court House for jury duty and watched over 50 county workers do nothing all day. It is no wonder we can no longer count on any public service entities. Today (11/02/12) I have yet to see one power company truck in Wilton aside from the power company depot at Orem's. Orem's is great: you can always find all the town workers there (snow plows, police, fire, town hall, etc.)


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