Connecticut Light & Power has adjusted its restoration estimate, saying that 99 percent of its customers across the state should have their electricity restored by end of day Monday and pretty much everyone by Wednesday, Chief Operating Officer Jeff Butler said in a telephone press conference early Friday.
As of 8 a.m., the number of statewide outages was at 148,000 CL&P customers, a fraction of the peak of 672,000 customers who were without power because of Hurricane Irene earlier this week.
With nearly 1,600 crews expected to be working Friday – nearly double the number on the ground Tuesday – the company is on track to meet its initial goal, which was to have fewer than 100,000 statewide outages by Saturday.
Butler announced that CL&P expects to have fewer than 12,400 homes and businesses without power – or about 1 percent of its statewide customer base – by the end of Monday, with full restoration still targeted for the end of Wednesday.
“We will continue a 24-hour-a-day restoration as we move forward with this three-day weekend,” Butler said. “We are maintaining the work force that we have this weekend.”
The damage to the state was extensive, with 10,000 “trouble spots” identified and more than 2,000 roads closed immediately following Irene, Butler said.
The devastation was more severe in the eastern and southwest portions of the state, with these areas expected to take the longest to get back online, Butler said.
“Given the amount of damage in those towns that I mention, there is a lot of restoration,” he said.
The company has about 700 line crews and about 280 tree crews in the eastern division with about 230 line and 135 tree crews in southwest Connecticut as of Friday morning, with more expected later in the day, officials said.
Much of the storm damage was caused by downed trees, Butler said, denying accusations by some municipal officials that CL&P’s tree management plan was deficient and contributed to the extent of the damage.
“I do not believe our current vegetation- (and) tree-management plan is an issue,” he said, adding that based on pictures he saw, some of the devastation could not have been prevented. “Trees well beyond what we would normally trim came down and took out a line.”
Butler said the company, in the future, would consider ways to prevent such a large-scale outage, but it would require the agreement of local officials and residents.
“It would (require) extensive tree trimming and tree removal and whatever we do has to be acceptable to the public as well,” he said.
Burying the lines underground would likely prove cost-prohibitive to the company and municipalities, Butler said.
The company released some estimates on the amount of damage it faced following this storm.
For instance, in Newtown, which was among one of the hardest hit areas in western Connecticut, 64 poles were broken, 28 transformers were damaged and 106 sections of line were brought down, officials said.
Across the state, CL&P reported 943 broken poles, 508 damaged transformers, 3,433 sections of downed wires and 2,119 road closings at the start of restoration efforts. As of Friday morning, the utility said it has repaired 458 broken poles, 176 transformers, re-wired 1,389 sections of line and opened 1,480 roads.
CL&P provided this breakdown of damage by sections of the state it serves:
(Includes Newtown, Norwalk, Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, Westport, Ridgefield, Redding, Weston, Easton, Fairfield, Brookfield, Bethel, Danbury, Darien and Monroe)
Broken poles: 336 (237 repaired)
Damaged transformers: 193 (73 repaired)
Sections of downed wires: more than 1,000 (624 repaired)
Road closures: 498 (440 reopened)
(Includes Branford, Guilford, Madison, Clinton, Westbrook, Old Saybrook, the Lymes, Waterford, Stonington, Ledyard, Haddam, Durham, Middletown, Colchester, Glastonbury, Mansfield, Williamantic and Killingly)
Broken poles: 384 (126 repaired)
Damaged transformers: 174 (30 repaired)
Sections of downed wires: 1,198 (183 repaired)
Road closures: 649 (448 reopened)
(Includes Farmington, Avon, West Hartford, Manchester, Vernon, Tolland, Willington, South Windsor, Ellington, Stafford, Granby and Simsbury)
Broken poles: 56 (51 repaired)
Damaged transformers: 50 (43 repaired)
Sections of downed wires: 417 (328 repaired)
Road closures: 242 (214 reopened)
(Includes Oxford, Southbury, Woodbury, Middlebury, Waterbury, Southington, New Britain, Berlin, Meriden, Litchfield, Torrington, Canaan, Cheshire, Bethany, Seymour and Beacon Falls)
Broken poles: 165 (71 repaired)
Damaged transformers: 91 (30 repaired)
Sections of downed wire: 616 (254 repaired)
Road closures: 702 (350 reopened)