CONNECTICUT — United Illuminating and Eversource have made some progress in restoring power to Connecticut residents after Tropical Storm Isaias walloped the state, but there is still much work to be done. UI has reduced outages to 73,947 as of 9 p.m. Thursday while Eversource still has 474,000 customers to go. Both companies have said it could be several more days before power is fully restored.
UI at its peak had 123,000 customers without power. Eversource so far has restored power to more than 377,000 customers. Around 37 percent of Eversource and 21 percent of UI customers still don’t have power.
Outages easily eclipsed those of Superstorm Sandy and come close to rivaling those of the October snowstorm of 2011 and Hurricane Irene.
UI estimated that most customers would have power back by Saturday with nearly everyone getting power back by Monday at hte latest. Eversource estimates it will make significant progress by the end of the weekend and have its restoration substantially complete by Tuesday, August 11 at 11:59 p.m., with many customers restored before that time.
Substantially complete means fewer than one percent of customers are still without power. More than 700 crews are “working urgently” to repair the widespread damage to the electric system caused by Tropical Storm Isaias, officials said. Significant numbers of additional out-of-state mutual aid crews are arriving Friday and will increase the available crew resources to 1,189. As of 9 p.m., the energy company has restored power to more than 435,000 customers since the storm began while operating under strict COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols. Approximately 480,000 Eversource customers in Connecticut remain without power, and Eversource will continue working around-the-clock until all customers are restored.
“We know how urgently our customers need power and we will work tirelessly – with every crew and resource we can muster – until they all have power again,” said Eversource President of Regional Electric Operations Craig Hallstrom. “With crews from Canada, Michigan and Massachusetts working alongside our Eversource crews, we remain laser focused on this restoration and are committed to staying on the job around-the-clock until every customer has power back. We are grateful to our customers for their patience and recognize the tremendous inconvenience that being without electricity presents during the ongoing pandemic and hot days of summer.”
Eversource struggled Tuesday and Wednesday with its outage reporting system, but company officials said the issues were resolved Thursday.
Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has opened up an investigation into Eversource and UI’s preparation and response to the storm.
UI began preparing for the storm last week and reached out to its mutual assistance group for out-of-state resources and contractors.
“All this planning is consistent with the Emergency Response Plan, on file with the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, for a storm of this magnitude. The storm we prepared for is the storm we got,” said UI President and CEO Tony Marone.
UI is following its coronavirus safety protocol by having only one worker per vehicle and taking other precautions, Marone said.
State officials have been more critical of Eversource’s preparation and response. Eversource underestimated the storm’s impact and didn’t have enough line crews for damage of this magnitude, according to records filed with PURA.
People should still stay away from downed power lines and adhere to road closures and caution tape near storm damage areas.
Power outages can be reported online to Eversource and United Illuminating. Eversource customers can report outages by calling 800-286-2000 and UI customers can call 800-722-5584.
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Eversource customers can also sign up for two-way texting to get updates on outage status and restoration estimates.
See also: When Will Power Be Back In CT? Power Restoration Estimates
This article originally appeared on the Across Connecticut Patch