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Llodra Describes Frustration With CL&P

A third day of outages has been slow going as town officials struggle to get more attention from Connecticut Light & Power.

It's been a long and frustrating few days for First Selectman Pat Llodra as she has tried to get Connecticut Light & Power to send more workers to Newtown.

CL&P crews first came into town late Sunday after mistakenly traveling to Turkey Roost Road in Monroe rather than Turkey Hill Road in Newtown where they were requested, Llodra said. By the time the crews arrived in Newtown, it was after 3 p.m.

before calling it a day at about 2 a.m., officials said. The problem, however, was that it took more than 12 hours for another crew to be sent back into town, and that was only after she went to complain in person, Llodra said.

The first selectman said that a CL&P liasion promised that the workers would be back in town early Monday, but there were no signs of the workers by the time 2 p.m. rolled around. Llodra said she finally grew so upset after she could not get anyone on the telephone that she drove down to the CL&P site in Hawleyville, furious about the lack of workers in town, she said.

“I thought that was the height of insult,” Llodra  said.

About a half hour after exchanging words with CL&P representatives, who told her there was a lack of crews in the region, utility workers finally arrived in town, she said.

Part of the frustration was that on Monday morning, CL&P President Jeff Butler and state officials said that 550 crews were expected in the state and that every town would have at least one crew – no one said there would be a delay before they arrived, Llodra said.

“It’s exhausting to do battle with them,” she said of CL&P. “They are not doing their part.”

CL&P spokesman Mitch Gross said that the 500 crews were in the state Monday and that 845 were slated in the state on Tuesday and more than 1,000 on Wednesday.

“It’s a 24 hour operation,” he said, reiterating Butler's statement that there is at least one crew working in each town.

Gross said he could not address the problems raised by Llodra.

“We’ve got plenty of work ahead of us," he said. "I can’t address what is happening in Newtown.”

Llodra said she has been trying to raise the profile of Newtown, as a way of getting more crews into town.

She has invited for crews who will be sent to work all throughout the southwest Connecticut – not just Newtown – in a gesture that she said she hopes will garner the town better service from CL&P.

“We want to have some consideration for having those trucks,” she said.

As of late Monday, 95-percent of the town – or 10,414 homes and businesses – remained without power.

Despite some of the frustrations of the past few days, six line and tree crews have been assigned to Newtown with the goal of working overnight Monday to clear downed wires and trees along Route 34 to Main Street – work that is in preparation for later restoration, Llodra said. That particular circuit is important because it powers Garner Correctional Facility, wastewater treatment and all of the homes and business in the Main Street vicinity.

Crews also were expected to have worked on clearing Walnut Tree and School House Hill roads and to open up a blocked Great Quarter Road Monday night, Llodra said.

The first selectman said she and Rep. Chris Lyddy (D-106) have invited U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) to Tuesday morning's emergency operations center meeting so that Murphy can get an idea of what is happening at the town level, with the hope that also will raise Newtown’s profile.

Meanwhile, school is canceled through Wednesday and town officials hope to determine whether all roadways are passable and power can be restored to school buildings by Thursday – two conditions that must exist before classes can resume, officials said.

Having gone through Tropical Storm Irene, Llodra said she is concerned about the length and current pace of restoration, particularly with the cold temperatures.

“The longer this takes, the more this wears people out,” she said.

Officials are taking steps to check on frail and elderly residents. For instance, a town police officer went door to door at Nunnawauk Meadows, a federal senior housing facility, to check on residents and encourage them to go to the shelter at Newtown Middle School, including providing the transport.

“You really want people to get out of their cold houses,” Llodra said.

Editor's note: More information will be posted in .

Karen G. French November 02, 2011 at 12:26 AM
When the utility companies downsized their work force to a skeleton crew to continue making profits for shareholders, it causes them to call in crews from many states away. Improving their "communication process" does nothing to heat & feed families. Another undue expense on the already strapped unemployed people of the northeast.
AnotherDay November 02, 2011 at 12:44 AM
What a great article written by Hoa. So many questions answered providing at least some clarity on what has been going on. Nice job of raising Newtown's profile by Pat as well. With the hundreds of towns impacted, we made the national news tonight. All of this can only help. ...and thanks for the cookies and juice tonight at the Municipal Center Hoa. You really are special!
John Seman November 02, 2011 at 01:35 AM
Now is not the time to quarrel.Productivity and patience is the proper way to mitigate the after affects of the storm. Our duly elected Town Officials are doing all that they can. Remember this a State wide disaster that is affecting all Newtown Residents equally.There will be no quick fix. The time to critique an incident is after it's conclusion not during it.Pitch in people lend a hand even if it's just being a little more understanding and patient.
Mike Kelley November 02, 2011 at 02:28 AM
Thank you Pat for clarifying this again for Eric as to what this volunteer organization is doing for Eric and all of the area. We need more volunteers like these people. Eric,once you volunteer for any organization like this and once you are certified as a CERT after many hundreds of hours, at your own expense; you to can help. I might suggest you let this one go and move on to another one. These folks have proven their worth again; just as they did a few months ago in the hurricane;at no expense to you or others. You must have bigger fish to fry and we have more important issues to solve at this point in Newtown.Stay warm Sir.
Kate O'Connor November 02, 2011 at 02:30 AM
For the volunteer concept, you might look at Lotsa Helping Hands...it is built for situations where willing helpers need to be connected to those in need. I think this could be used for Newtown's residents...worth looking into, at least as a model for how it mit be structured if it is done locally via Patch or the town website.
Mike Kelley November 02, 2011 at 02:34 AM
Well said Mr. Seaman. have a nice evening and a better tomorrow. Thats is what our neighbors and friends and family are doing.
Dave November 02, 2011 at 02:45 AM
Pat, please keep the heat on those greedy, inept bastards at CL&P so that they will get my heat on. Just saw on Fox 61 that they doubled there crew commitment for Meriden from 6 to 12 after some nagging by the stat rep. Funny thing is that the CL&P website shows 27000 customers out in Meriden compared to 9000 in Newtown. By my math, we should get 4 crews, not 1 that can't read a street map. After the Irene experience, this is inexcusable. I just hope that the anger of the people does not fade as the lights come back on. Dave - Pine Tree Hill Rd.
JKF November 02, 2011 at 03:16 AM
I think Pat's idea of using FFH was shrewd and well-thought out. Force CL&P to keep seeing all they are are failing to accomplish. I wonder what this guy Butler from CL&P makes a year. Whatever it is, cut it. A lot This is shameful.
Kevin Fitzgerald November 02, 2011 at 03:35 AM
Kate, thanks for the tip. We'll look at the LHH model too.
Tony November 02, 2011 at 02:14 PM
WHAT is our TOWN GOVT doing? Enough about what CL&P is not doing...WHAT IS NEWTOWN DOING TO clear the roads? Why do we have to wait for all roads to be clear to start restoration services. Do it in parallel. Project planning 101. Why are there trees blocking road(with no power lines) 4 days after the storm. ...and SHAME on you Pat for saying in the Newstimes that your number one priority is commercial power restoration. Families are suffering in an unsafe environment and that should ALWAYS be your #1 priority. Tell us in your letter to the town today what the local GOVT is doing differently to help the people.
Mark Lurie November 02, 2011 at 02:35 PM
Also, why can't the town create a blocked road map and put it up on the web? I would be happy to help but I have NO INTERNET and NO PHONE and pretty busy at work right now.
Tony November 02, 2011 at 02:38 PM
I agree as well...BUT we need to understand what town GOVT is doing differently to address these issues. For example, why waste town resources on putting up signs on Main Street on Tuesday when those crews could be clearing the remaining roads. 4 days into this I am still driving under downed trees(with no power-lines in sight). Close the transfer station and get those GOVT employees to help the people. Actions speak louder than words. That to me would be true leadership!!!
Jason Kyle November 02, 2011 at 02:44 PM
It makes sense to me to get commercial districts fixed first. Fix one business and you provide a warm place for dozens of people, and multiple families can get food/services etc. If you address what are essentially shared resources first you increase quality of life for more people. My only thought on the road/power clearing is it's extremely complicated work, since the power crews need the tree crews to clear trees to get to the lines, but the tree crews need the power crews to make sure the lines are dead and the area safe before they can work. The tree folks are only as efficient as their CL&P "partners".
Mark Lurie November 02, 2011 at 03:03 PM
Obviously, they didn't learn squat from Irene. E.g. if School House road is such an important electrical circuit then why weren't all the trees on that road cut down after Irene? You should be able to see that road from space! C'mon! Time for the Town Govt to pull their heads out of their 4th points of contact and start being proactive because it's clear CL&P doesn't give a #$&@! Thanks for all the updates via phone but when you live 3 miles from town with no internet, no phone, and no cell phone, guess what? You are right! 100% of the town's able bodied employees should be opening roads and clearing brush (where they are not touching wires, of course), not hanging signs and keeping us in the dark in more than one way or another.
John cascone November 02, 2011 at 03:43 PM
Enough political nonsense, clearly cl&p are still business as usual, the town has managed to gain zero leverage after the last storm. Before we erect a shrine to our town leaders lets see any improvement. So far we seem to have actually lost leverage, the " staging area" is merely a coffee stop for line crews off to oil the squeakier wheels. So now in addition to paying to take our trash to the dump, a volunteer fire & ambulance corp, I can add buying a new generator every year to the cost of living in newtown. Well done
Tony November 02, 2011 at 04:37 PM
There are many places to provide food and warmth during the day outside of Newtown. Families need heat at night and if we waste our time on the commercial district these families will continue to suffer in the cold. Newtown needs to make families a priority again.
Mary Ann Jacob November 02, 2011 at 05:40 PM
I have two or maybe three able bodied teenagers available for clean up. I'd you need help, please reach out to me to arrange when they can come. Mjacob4404@charter.net
John Seman November 02, 2011 at 08:25 PM
Have wood chipper will travel in the Newtown Area
Mike zilinek November 03, 2011 at 12:49 AM
I live about two miles from CL&P ,they drive by old hawleyville rd everyday and guess what we still our without power up to the intersection of pocono rd past that power is on. There is one branch hanging on the primaries which took down the line . Also the town has not cleared any brush or fallen limbs from the road which makes driving at Night hazerdous.
Dunham Smith November 03, 2011 at 01:23 AM
Is there any place I can go to hear Pat Llodra's phone message to Newtown Residents that was sent earlier tonight. I can't find it on the Town website or the Bee's website.
Eric Paradis November 03, 2011 at 01:54 AM
Try calling 866.419.5000, that's the caller ID that was left on my cell from the call.
Hoa Nguyen November 03, 2011 at 02:12 AM
Dunham, just for you and others who missed it, I've saved the Nov. 2 CodeRed message and posted it here: http://newtown.patch.com/articles/listen-to-llodras-codered-message-nov-2-2011
Marabeth Pereira November 03, 2011 at 03:22 PM
Kevin, you can add my name as well. I can offer organizational skills. :)
Hoa Nguyen November 03, 2011 at 03:31 PM
Maribeth, try giving Bill Hart a call. He is trying to coordinate volunteer help. I know they need help handing out water and MREs at the Sandy Hook fire station and the volunteer firefighters there need respite.
Marabeth Pereira November 03, 2011 at 03:46 PM
Thanks, Hoa. I don't have a phone number for Bill but just send off an email to see what I can do to help out.
Kevin Fitzgerald November 03, 2011 at 05:03 PM
Marabeth, the SHFH can take volunteers anytime. I just called there and if you or someone you know has a bit of time on your hands, they can use help now. I also forwarded you an email with an update on volunteer opportunities. Thanks for volunteering!
Mike zilinek November 03, 2011 at 05:34 PM
Still no sign of any line crews or town crews in Hawleyville . Roads are still hazerdous with tree limbs on the roads. Nelson Lane has a tree across the road been there for days may rot away before anyone gets to it.
Hawleyville Resident November 03, 2011 at 06:24 PM
yup - part of farrell never even lost power coming off rt 25! rumor is pocono and some if not all of old hawleyville have power, but farrell, nelson and patricia still dont! trees hanging on wires, etc
Marabeth Pereira November 03, 2011 at 08:52 PM
We live on Pocono (Mt. Pleasant end) and got it back yesterday. Sorry to hear our neighbors up on Old Hawleyville are still out.
pat Llodra November 03, 2011 at 09:49 PM
Dunham. If you have a cell phone it can be registered to receive the messages. Call me anytime at 270-4202 or Sue at 270-4201 and we can make that happen or access CodeRed on the Town website (lower right on the selection panel). Note: the Code red messsage are posted every day on the News and Accouncements of the Town website- usually titled as an Update.

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