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Mistrust in CL&P Fueling Interest in Generators

Generators have seen a spike in demand following multiple instances of damaging storms and outages.

"It kind of reached a point that the people who provide the power aren't prepared so you better be." – Brian Corson, Newtown resident, on why he bought a generator.

The last time Ken Burns saw so much interest in generators was when some people believed the world would come to an end at the stroke of midnight in year 2000.

Now, the mistrust fueling a demand for generators is coming from people who don't believe utility and other officials will be able to restore their power should there be another round of damaging weather.

"There's a lot of fear," the 44-year-old Newtown electrician said.

The result is that Burns' phone has been ringing incessantly with about 20 phone calls a day from people wanting information on installing generators, which can range in price from several hundred to several thousands of dollars depending on their capacity.

Newtown's building department also is seeing steady traffic from people applying for generator permits while businesses, such as Newtown Hardware, also are responding to the increase in demand by stocking up on smaller generator models and the plugs, wires and connections that go with it.

"It started just as Irene was approaching," Newtown Hardware's Dan Sorrentino said of the interest in generators. "People are getting serious about it."

Burns said he traced the interest to earlier this year after a tough winter and then later, damaging thunderstorms, which .

and the just increased the panic, Burns said, adding he has fielded more than 200 inquiries regarding generators since Irene.

"I'm sure this will keep us busy for a good part of the winter," he said.

Some of the people buying generators, such as Brian Corson, 67, of Newtown, cite a complete lack of faith in Connecticut Light & Power, which he said set in for him shortly after Irene when he and his family were left without power for about a week.

"I began to deal with the reality that these things were going to continue to happen," Corson said. "It kind of reached the point that you realize the people who provide the power aren't prepared, so you better be."

Researching the topic after Irene, Corson said he grew wary that CL&P didn't have enough personnel to address mass outages, and that concerned him as winter approached.

"It became clear to me that this wasn't a one-time thing," he said, adding he then spent the next several weeks researching generators.

After he made the decision to install a generator, the next step was to find an electrician to do the installation.

"The longest part of the process is getting somebody that knows what they are doing," he said.

Installing a generator also adds value to a home, according to Burns, who installed one at his house.

"They are very good investments," he said. "Now you have electricity when you need it."

Editor's note: Also see

Suzy DeYoung November 21, 2011 at 02:49 PM
If frustrated with the performance of CL&P , please add your name to the petition: CItizen Call to Action Against CL&P: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/actionagainstconnlightandpower/
D.A. Narducci, Architect November 21, 2011 at 03:49 PM
No doubt about it, one way to be prepared for the next power outage is to consider "on-site generation". It's a sure-fire way that you can take control of your own survival and the preservation of your property until power from the grid is restored. I've provided some basic guidelines for the planning and installation of a simple residential generator system in the attached Blog. I hope you find it helpful. Contact me with any questions. Here's the link: http://freestoneplans.com/2011/11/07/
Jayne Long November 21, 2011 at 06:08 PM
We did not have a generator when Irene hit and our house lost power for 5 days. I We said never again! We installed a generator which will pretty much run the entire house comfortably. Then the snow storm in October left us without power for 7 days, we realized it was the smartest decision we ever made. It is clear that living in this part of the world, you clearly cannot rely on mains power and with so many outages, it made sense to look after our own families needs. Expensive, but worth every dollar.
Sandy Jossick Anderson November 21, 2011 at 11:20 PM
Ken Burns electric ..is the electrician that you need! Honest, knowledgeable and lives locally ..he installed a 25kw auto switch generator at my house and I was worry free, especially that my 90 year old mother a inlaw lives with us. I was worry freed through both storms except for extra family and friends living with is ...lol . :-)
Kevin hickey November 22, 2011 at 01:06 AM
Is it any wonder that we have lost faith? Kudos to the overworked line crews, but preparedness has been severely overshadowed by the short term profit motive of Northeast Utilities.
Shirley Lenhard November 22, 2011 at 07:59 PM
Purchasing generators is a good idea. A better idea is to hold CL&P accountable for their lack of preventative maintenance. What happened to trimming trees that overhang power lines? What happened to Public Works listening to complaining citizens of Sandy Hook? I've lodged several complaints about the condition on Riverside Road and continue to see the SAME trees which have been uprooted and leaning on other trees nearer the road for the last three years. Today I saw a HUGE seemingly healthy tree uprooted and leaning against a not so healthy looking tree right on the road. Newtown Public Works and CL&P won't be happy until someone is killed or seriously injured traversing Riverside. The storm is over and power has been restored. As for faith? I will never have faith in either CL&P or Public Works again. After someone is hurt badly enough perhaps then it will draw some attention to Riverside's hazardous condition. Doubtful though, we always seem to be the last residents to be taken care of any way.

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