Eversource: Crews Working Around the Clock, but Restoration will Take “Multiple Days”

Eversource says it is responding to nearly 700,000 power outages across its service territory with crews “working around the clock.”

“Hundreds of Eversource line, tree, and service crews worked through the night after Tropical Storm Isaias and associated tornadoes tore through Connecticut causing widespread and historic damage to the company’s electric system,” the company said in a release.

Eversource reported that as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, crews have restored power to more than 100,000 customers since the storm began less than 24 hours before. The energy company anticipates the restoration of all its customers in the state will take multiple days.

In Wilton, as of 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 5, there are 5,460 homes and businesses without power, or 72% of Eversource customers in town.

First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice says repair will be slow-going, with one Eversource crew in Wilton assessing the damage–and that hopefully, Wilton can expect additional crews to arrive by Wednesday evening.

The main photo accompanying the article (above) shows a number of Eversource trucks that had assembled in the Caraluzzi’s Market parking lot around noon on Wednesday, and was taken by a Wilton resident.

The company’s work protocol is methodical and slower than many anticipate. The process is to:

  1. MAKE SAFE
  2. ASSESS DAMAGE
  3. TREE CREW
  4. RESTORATION CREW

“Eversource is currently in assessment mode, with life-threatening situations being prioritized. Eversource is not able to provide detailed estimates for power restoration. They are only providing that it will be multiple days. Power restoration for Sandy took up to a week or longer for some, so please plan accordingly,” Vanderslice said in an update to residents Wednesday afternoon.

Town crews are working to clear roads where downed trees and branches don’t involve downed wires as well. Any situation that involves wires must be handled by Eversource, which has its own tree crews.

“It is hard to be patient, particularly in the middle of a pandemic. Please know that town personnel are doing all that we can to expedite clearing and power restoration. We are very much dependent on Eversource, as is every other Connecticut municipality,” Vanderslice added.

Complicating the recovery is that crews must operate under Eversource’s COVID-19 pandemic plan and adhere to strict social distancing, hygiene and enhanced sanitation measures for the safety of workers and customers.

“The impact from this storm, in terms of power outages, is greater than Superstorm Sandy. The fierce winds with this storm caused widespread power outages and historic damage, affecting customers in all of the 149 communities we serve in Connecticut,” said Eversource Vice President of Electric Operations in Connecticut Michael Hayhurst. “We are taking to the skies to conduct a detailed damage assessment of our 17,000 miles of overhead equipment and using patrollers on the ground, so we can efficiently deploy our resources to get power restored for all of our customers. We recognize how difficult it is to be without electricity especially while many people continue working from home during the pandemic. Our crews will continue working until every customer has power back while also complying with stringent pandemic protocols.”

The electric system suffered the most damage from the punishing winds accompanying the tropical storm, with Wilton’s scenes of downed trees blocking roads and dangling downed powerlines repeated across the region.

Eversource experienced issues with its automated reporting system at the height of the storm but resolved the problems by Wednesday. Customers are encouraged to report any outage online or call 800.286.2000. Customers who signed up for the company’s two-way texting feature can send a text to report an outage and receive outage updates as they happen.