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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Governor Rell Asks DPUC, DEMHS to Probe Utility Response to Storm

Article Sent to me from the Governor's office. Thought you may find it interesting:

Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced she has asked the Department of Public Utility Control and the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to examine the actions of the state’s two largest electric utilities – Connecticut Light & Power Co. (CL&P) and United Illuminating Co. (UI) – in the initial hours of the weekend storm that contributed to the deaths of at least three people, downed thousands of trees and tree limbs, snapped hundreds of utility poles and left nearly 100,000 Connecticut homes and businesses without power.

As of this morning, more than 39,000 CL&P customers and more than 700 UI customers were still without power.

Governor Rell said she heard from many municipal leaders, fire and police chiefs and emergency management officials who complained that the utility companies were slow to respond to the storm Saturday night and Sunday. The officials told the Governor they had trouble reaching utility officials – often getting voice mail or no answer at all – and said that they saw relatively few utility crews on the job in the first two days of the storm.

“This was a huge storm that did serious damage – miles of wire and dozens of utility poles were affected,” Governor Rell said. “Thousands of Connecticut residents remain without power even now – three days after the storm, with nighttime lows still dipping into the 30s. And it is flatly unacceptable for a fire or police official to be unable to reach a ‘real person’ at a utility company in the middle of an emergency. We need to know what went wrong, why it happened and how to keep it from happening again.

“I have asked DEMHS and the DPUC to look at the initial communication problems and to pull individual work crew records for Saturday and Sunday,” the Governor said. “I want to know whether all the necessary resources were out there as quickly and for as long as they should have been. Too many people are still without power and too many questions are unanswered.”

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