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Connecticut’s Power Woes – Update

Electric Pole
This evening marks the end of the eighth day without power for a large number of people in Connecticut. As of 5 PM on Sunday there were 89,629 customers not yet restored with electricity. That is 7% of the customers in the state. If there are just two people per customer account, that is nearly 200,000 people. In the town where I live, there are 2,063 customers (19%) still without power. The electric company had projected 99% restoration by tonight. They have now revised that estimate to noon tomorrow for most towns. That will be nine days. One thing for sure is that there will be a lot of finger pointing about why it has taken so long. When two feet of wet snow falls in eight hours on trees that still have their leaves, it is no surprise that thousands of trees were damaged. We estimate 15 on our property. Many of the thousands of trees that came down were sharing narrow New England roads with 20,000 miles of electric lines. There are many questions to be answered. What is a reasonable expectation to clear the roads and repair the thousands of wires, transformers, and other equipment? Was the state adequately prepared? Is there anything that could have been done to minimize the damage from such a storm? If we had known two weeks in advance, what would have been done? It seems to me the issue may be logistics. How do you organize the crews, set the priorities, and execute the work in the fastest possible way? Europe invested in putting electric utilities underground decades ago. To do that now in this economy and with the regulatory approvals that would be needed seems impossible. If that is the case, then it comes down to logistical planning for the next storm.