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CL&P: Restoration in Newtown May Take 'Til Weds

The utility company has revised its estimates for restoration due to issues it recently has identified.

The damage in Newtown is worse that Connecticut Light & Power has anticipated, prompting officials to say that restoration will take much longer than originally expected, CL&P representatives said.

The new estimate shows that 99-percent of the town will be restored by Sunday – one day after CL&P had originally estimated – and that full restoration wouldn't happen until Weds., Nov. 9, utility representatives told the town during this morning's meeting at the Emergency Operations Center.

Apparently utility "patrollers," who ride around inspecting wire damage found substantial problems in Newtown, some severe enough that they have had to take some areas off the grid in order for repairs to be done. The damage apparently was not spotted until recently, CL&P officials said.

As a result, the number of outages are expected to increase before they decrease.

The news had First Selectman Pat Llodra upset, particularly because CL&P did not have plans to bring in additional personnel other than the 17 line and 17 tree crews assigned to Newtown Friday, and that other towns appeared to be returning to the grid at a faster rate.

"When is CL&P going to understand our geography and the unique challenges in our town?" she asked. "Why does it take your patrollers to find what we already know?"

A few hours after the meeting, Llodra said that CL&P got back to her and had agreed to add an additional two line and two tree crews to the town, bringing the total number of crews to 38.

In addition, town officials have identified 16 roads that are completely blocked to traffic due to downed trees and wires, some of which fell down within the past 24 hours, including Swamp Road, likely due to the stress that they have been under.

"Gravity is winning," Public Works Director Fred Hurley said.

In addition, there are 100 or so location with some type of problem involving trees and wires, he said.

Officials said that making roadways safe is their first priority, and that in some cases, the work will take more than a day to clear, such as Obtuse Road.

"We need resources," Hurley said.

What complicates the problem is that if the road clearing involves wires, specialized utility tree crews must be used. CL&P officials said that they could assign more tree crews but that would take away from the restoration work ongoing.

But Llodra said she wanted CL&P to send in additional crews and not take crews away from restoration work. She said she was frustrated to see other towns having their outages go down while Newtown has stayed virtually at a standstill or even increased, imploring CL&P representatives to convince their superiors that more crews needed to be sent to Newtown.

"We're bigger, we have more miles than our neighbors," she said.

The state Department of Transportation also has offered to send in workers to help with roadway clearing, although they also are not certified to work around electricity wires.

Meanwhile, crews from the town department of parks and recreation, who had been working to reduce the dangerous conditions around the Municipal Center and other public places, will be used to help public works clear some of the smaller brush debris that is impending travel and would need to be cleared in order for school buses to do their runs, officials said.

Town workers will work through the weekend on this assignment and if all of the blocked roadways are opened, school bus drivers will do trial runs on Sunday afternoon and report back on whether they faced any major obstacles. If the roadways are not opened or dangerous travel conditions persist, there is a possibility .

Llodra and Superintendent of Schools Janet Robinson said they would meet to talk about possible contingency plans.

Correction: Estimates show that 99-percent of the town will be restored by Sunday. An earlier version of this article incorrectly characterized the restoration estimate.

Editor's note: This article has been updated since it was originally published to indicate that First Selectman Pat Llodra said CL&P has since agreed Friday afternoon to add four additional crews to Newtown to bring the total to 38 crews.

Pissed Off November 04, 2011 at 06:59 PM
Tom doesn't always drink beer...but when he does he prefers Dos Equis. He is....the most interesting man alive.
John Barry November 04, 2011 at 07:04 PM
Like a gut punch to the stomach.
Concerned Citizen November 04, 2011 at 07:12 PM
TheBEE - your kidding me ! old , dated info from days ago - The Patch and Hoa Rule hands down !!! seems the bee is still using a letterpress and Paul Revere to get the word out !!!!!!!!
TJH November 04, 2011 at 07:13 PM
Well played, sir. Well played.
LT November 04, 2011 at 07:14 PM
Irrelevant to the situation, but Thank you TJH & Pissed off for a much needed laugh today!
TJH November 04, 2011 at 07:15 PM
Today's Bee is reporting the potential for a freak pre-Halloween snow storm.
Daria November 04, 2011 at 07:18 PM
this whole conversation has amused me, thx guys. laughter is good medicine.
Jacqueline Jensen November 04, 2011 at 07:25 PM
I am curious if the shelters are full? I would think the elderly ought to be there if they don't have a generator. Of course it is a personal choice, but I haven't yet heard that they are full.....
Kathy November 04, 2011 at 08:08 PM
Ok, what time are we showing up at FFH with pitchforks and torches? LOL Never mind - my husband just called and power was turned on at 4:05pm. Good luck everyone!!!
Joe H. November 04, 2011 at 08:22 PM
But the Bee works better for starting a fire in the fireplace
Hoa Nguyen November 04, 2011 at 08:30 PM
Part of Castle Hill (around 101 and 109) expected to be up today. Lots of workers clearing at Castle Hill and Taunton Lake to make it safe but unlikely to get power back tonight.
Wendy Harrington November 04, 2011 at 08:31 PM
We are on Greys Plain and 4 trucks are here stuck in our neighbors driveway unable to do any work because of an accident on 34-they are diverting the traffic up and down our street-I feel bad for the accident but is there no other road to divert to? So that these 4 crews can continue their work?
David Stowe November 04, 2011 at 08:36 PM
Just got word that we are back up and running. We are over on Patricia which is the extreme western edge of Newtown. With Irene we were out 9 days.
HanBanan November 04, 2011 at 08:46 PM
I go camping quite often, it wasn't that much of a difference to live without power this week. I think everyone should learn from this that we need to be prepared for this kind of situation.
Mark Lurie November 04, 2011 at 08:52 PM
Should we? We pay the highest electricity rates in the country and this is the kind of service we get? I want a refund, I want two and a half weeks of my life back!
Hoa Nguyen November 04, 2011 at 09:07 PM
IMPORTANT: Hi all, but wanted to correct a mistake that was in here earlier. Ninety-nine percent of the town will be restored by Sunday -- that is one day after the original estimate of Saturday. Full restoration won't be until Wednesday, according to CL&P. Sorry for the confusion but it was a momentarily brain glitch about the 99-percent estimate.
Joan Nash November 04, 2011 at 09:51 PM
So does that mean 99% of the town will be restored by Sunday night and the last 1% by Wednesday?
Hoa Nguyen November 04, 2011 at 09:54 PM
Yes Joan. Wrong word choice. Apologies if there was confusion.
STILL NO POWER November 05, 2011 at 12:46 AM
i think they forgot about the rest of brushy hill road, no crews no power day 7, NO POWER, anyone take a drive down johnbeach rd, like a ware zone wires, trees unpassable road, they say all roads are passable this one is NOT
dkm November 05, 2011 at 11:45 AM
What about Shady Rest? Crew were there two days ago but still no power. Anyone know what's going on there?
AHM November 05, 2011 at 01:13 PM
These workers have left their families to work 16 hour days out in the cold dragging trees and repairing lines only to be complained about because they got a few minutes in a "warm tent" to eat. This is a huge job, give them a break. If you found internet access, hopefully you found food.
Jennifer Clarkson Killin November 05, 2011 at 01:41 PM
I'm all for taking back control of Newtown's share of electric utility! Let's get in touch with the Powers that Be in Boulder and get advice!
brenda November 05, 2011 at 01:47 PM
it could have been a worse situation..people seems to be alright with complaining..but don"t count their blessings..kinda crappy that"s all your living for..ELECTRIC!..not
Jennifer Clarkson Killin November 05, 2011 at 01:51 PM
Gonna start house-hunting in Norwich, I think...
Roseanne Loring November 05, 2011 at 07:18 PM
One bright note from this article........Once again, our awesome O/O's will take to the roads to insure safe travel for our children!!!! How about that, All Star????
Dee Dee November 05, 2011 at 09:18 PM
Great Article - EVERYONE SHOULD READ IT. Thanks for the link.
Karen Visca November 05, 2011 at 09:34 PM
I agree with you Roseanne the O/O are awesome. They are concerned with the safety of our children. They know the roads and will make sure it is safe for them to go to school.
Dee Dee November 06, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Any word on if school is a go for Monday?
kaia November 08, 2011 at 12:59 PM
Don't listen to the whiners - they represent the noisy few. You guys are doing a FANTASTIC job! The majority of Newtowners appreciate what you are doing and understand the huge challenge you face. People seem to forget that they own their own trees, all but five feet from the road.
kaia November 08, 2011 at 01:01 PM
Power back yesterday on Aunt Park Lane! Many thanks to Newtown crews, U.I and CL+P. Not only hard-working but helpful and polite. Real class.

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