Town expects progress in power restoration tonight, 127 crews now assigned

With a reported 127 work crews now assigned to Greenwich, town officials said they were hopeful of progress in getting power back on to portions of the town by late Friday night.

As of 6 p.m. on Friday, Connecticut Light & Power listed 13,686 Greenwich customers without service, representing 49% of the town. At a press briefing Friday afternoon, First Selectman Peter Tesei and his colleagues Selectmen David Theis and Drew Marzullo said that they were still not satisfied with the response, saying the utility, because of all the advance warning about the potential impact of Hurricane Sandy, should have had more crews ready to go to respond in a timely manner. With temperatures dipping down into the 30’s on Friday night, there is concern about many residents who have no power or heat, especially seniors.

“My personal view is having so many people without power is unsatisfactory,” Mr. Tesei said. “In terms of where we should be right now, I would have expected we would be far below this number. The reason we are not, I believe based on my real assessment, is that the resource was delivered too late. It’s the old adage of a day late and a dollar short.”

CL&P has been unable to provide an estimate of when the majority of Greenwich’s power will be restored but it has said that it expects 95% of the state to be back in service by Tuesday.

The town continues to operate a 24/7 emergency shelter at Eastern Middle School for people needing assistance. The town remains under a state of emergency for now.

Mr. Tesei said that in their tour of the damage, which began Friday at approximately 2 p.m. and lasted for close to two hours, they only saw two work crews out in the field. However, town Emergency Management Director Daniel Warzoha said that the indication was that the work crews are here, particularly in the back and mid-country, and that work is ongoing with expected progress Friday night, especially in the Milbank area, which would restore to the surrounding homes. Mr. Warzoha said the Old Mill Road substation is expected to go back online tonight and work on John Street off of Riversville would also be complete by 8 p.m.

Another issue that emerged on Friday was a run on gasoline. Residents have needed fuel for their vehicles and for generators but with New York and New Jersey not only experiencing heavy damage from the storm, but fuel shortages, there has been a large influx of people coming off Interstate 95 for the town’s service stations all along Route 1. Mr. Tesei said town police officers had to be assigned to gas stations where there were suddenly long lines for gas, creating traffic tie ups and causing “tempers to flare.” The state has provided personnel to assist with this and it is expected to be an even bigger problem on Saturday when more people are going out, increasing traffic along Route 1.

Mr. Tesei said the town is being “inundated” with people looking for gasoline and that it is “not an issue we have ever encountered before.”

“We’re not saying don’t come here for fuel, we are saying we needed assistance with this,” Mr. Tesei said.

To help residents clear debris, the Holly Hill Transfer Station will be open extended hours this weekend. It will be open on to residents and commercial haulers on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Monday and Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Greenwich Library’s main branch will also have extended hours on Saturday and Sunday of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to continue to provide people a place to charge electronics.

 

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