Category Archives: Utilities

Lawsuit Over Alternative Power Says Esty Overstepped Authority

by Categorized: Energy, law, Utilities Date:

Connecticut’s headaches over two long-term deals for renewable power, including a large contract with a Maine Wind Farm, now include a lawsuit by a New York firm that owns competing solar generation facilities.

Allco Renewable Energy Ltd., based on Wall Street in New York City, submitted bids from five solar facilities when the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection sought bids in July for 15-year contracts to sell power to Connecticut Light & Power.  In September, the department awarded contracts to a Maine wind project and a solar project located in Connecticut — but not to Allco.

Allco filed a lawsuit against Dan Esty, the DEEP commissioner, in U.S. District Court in Connecticut, claiming the contracts amount to the state setting wholesale power rates. That’s against the Federal Power Act that gives U.S. regulators the exclusive right to oversee wholesale markets, Allco said in the lawsuit, which was filed Nov. 27 and seeks to have the deals revoked, along with other relief.

Allco’s lawsuit also said the pricing of the contracts was not done properly under federal law, and that its offer was for a lower amount than one of the winning bids.

The most controversial of the contracts is for 250 megawatts, with the so-called Number Nine Wind Project in Maine, which has not yet been built. Critics say that agreement raises concerns about transmitting the power, and could lead the state to ignore renewable energy sources that are based locally.

Allco “will suffer irreparable harm” because its solar facilities “are competing for a limited supply of long-term renewable energy contracts in Connecticut, and the defendant’s interference with the wholesale energy market in violation of the FPA will cause the Plaintiff to suffer substantial economic losses,” the lawsuit said.

The Department said it conducted the bidding and awarded the contracts properly after working closely with the state Attorney General’s office, the Office of Consumer Counsel and outside lawyers.

“We are confident we followed all legal requirements during this process and are eager to advance Governor Malloy’s agenda of bringing cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable energy to the residents and businesses of Connecticut,” said department spokesman Dwayne Gardner in a written statement.


Workers Petition For Operators’ Union at Millstone Nuclear Plant

by Categorized: Energy, Labor, Utilities Date:

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers has petitioned federal labor officials for a vote to create a 450-person union at the Millstone nuclear station in Waterford, which now has no collective bargaining among nearly 1,200 employees.

A vote could happen this summer. IBEW Local 457, which also represents about 700 Connecticut Light & Power employees, petitioned the National Labor Relations Board after collecting a required number of signatures of employees seeking the balloting.

Millstone workers covered under the petition include operations employees, skilled trades, maintenance, testing technicians and others — 25 job classifications at both reactor units that are still active, according to John Fernandes, business manager of Local 457.

Employees have held votes on whether to form a union at least twice in recent years. That gives hope to Dominion Resources Inc., the Richmond, Va.-based company that bought Millstone in 2000 from a group headed by CL&P, that workers will again reject the bid.

“Dominion respects the rights of its employees to organize, but we believe the best way for us to move forward at Millstone is in a non-union environment where we can work together on an individual and personal basis,” Dominion spokesman Ken Holt said in a prepared statement.

This time is different, said Fernandes, whose union lost a bid to organize at Millstone in 2001.

“What they call ‘austerity programs’ are just taking from the workforce,” Fernandes said. “They’ve been stripping from their benefits, the workforce is not as hefty as it once was…they’re making money but they don’t went to share it with their employees.”

Millstone workers approached the union earlier this year, Fernandes said. “They’ve had enough.”

He declined to say how many signatures IBEW collected other than to say it was a “strong majority.” At least 30 percent is required to petition for a union vote.

The main issues are job security and benefits, Fernandes said — same as with other high-skill unions such as the linemen that IBEW represents at CL&P.

Dominion supplements its local workforce with outside contractors, which is fine for specialized work such as repairs, Fernandes said, but he added, “on a regular basis, they should have their own people.”

Most but not all of the affected workers are paid by the hour, eligible for overtime, Fernandes said.  Pay, in general, is not a big dispute at Millstone.

“We have a very talented workforce and that’s reflected in their pay,” Holt said.

The petition represents one of the largest organizing efforts in Connecticut in recent years and it sets up a battle that’s becoming more common in organized labor: highly paid workers concerned not about pay but job security and broader issues.

A hearing is scheduled later this month at the NLRB office to determine whether the 450 employees are properly categorized as a bargaining unit. Holt declined to say whether Dominion would fight to petition — the company has done so in the past, Fernandes said — and if the unit is approved, a vote would be scheduled within 45 days.

The subtext here, which Dominion would probably not say in so many words, is that these workers are not, in management’s opinion, the sort that should be organized in unions. Their jobs in many cases are unique, and they, along with management, must have tremendous flexibility to quickly solve problems. If that means assigning someone to a task that’s not in a job description, so be it — it’s part of the modern economy.

That’s the management argument, and it’s true that flexibility can mean more efficiency. But workers higher up the skill and pay chain may organize into unions when they fulfill their end of the bargain without seeing respect and gaining security from the large companies making the demands.

We’ll see at Millstone whether the equation has changed since the last vote in the mid-2000s, when a different union tried to organize this group.

As Lawmakers Debate Energy Auction, Customers Lose Out On Savings

by Categorized: Energy, Public finance, Utilities Date:

Regardless of whether state lawmakers decide to auction Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating retail electricity accounts to private marketing companies as a way of raising cash for the state, the issue will cost money for 665,000 customers.

On July 1, electric customers who buy generation through the “standard service” plan at CL&P — 665,000 households and small businesses, upwards of half the total in Connecticut — were likely to receive a reduction in their generation rates of 5 percent to 8 percent.  That would mean about $2.80 a month for the average customer, or $35 for the next 12 months.

Now that price cut isn’t going to happen. The power companies, which buy electricity under state supervision, were unable to lock in lower rates because they were unable to guarantee energy traders that they would still have all those customers in the second half of this year.

The result: Generation rates will remain where they are come July 1, rather than taking advantage of lower market prices. Ironically, it’s all because of the threat of an auction that would, its supporters say, bring the benefits of free-market competition to customers.

“Even with just the specter of this auction being there, we lost all of our buying power for 2013 and into 2014,” said Jeff Gaudiosi, the state’s power procurement manager, an employee of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority who oversees CL&P and UI power purchases.

The auction itself might or might not be a good idea, but Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is pushing hard for it to happen because it would raise an estimated $80 million to $100 million, a one-shot boost for the state budget.

That’s not a good enough reason to do it. If the auction would bring lower rates to customers, let’s do it.  If not — and there are strong arguments on both sides — then it would be a potential disaster.

In fact, the state taking the proceeds of the auction is a cash grab, in effect a tax. That asset — the value of your retail business — rightly belongs to you as an electric ratepayer. Since the private marketing firms are willing to pay $100 or more per account, it makes sense that the ratepayers should see some of that money.

Put another way: If I get, say, $50 or $75 for allowing the state to auction my CL&P account to some company I never heard of, I might be a lot more willing to play ball. Then if Malloy and lawmakers must raise taxes or cut services somewhere else to make up for it, we’ll have an honest debate.

Here’s how the auction issue shapes up: In 2000, the retail market for electricity was moved from the power companies, under state price regulation, to private marketing firms. Dozens of those marketers are trying to sell power to customers at rates they say are better than the standard offer, and so far 47 percent of customers have gone that route.

Anyone who doesn’t switch remains with CL&P or UI, and pays a rate that’s overseen by the state based on a state-approved buying strategy. That’s what the standard offer is, and it now totals 7.615 cents per kilowatt hour at CL&P, down sharply in recent years.

Either way, you pay one monthly bill to CL&P and UI, and all customers pay the same distribution rate, which is also regulated, and is about twice as large as the generation rate.

The auction, part of Malloy’s proposed budget, would take segments of 100,000 customers and hand them to the highest bidders. There are 800,000 customers under the standard offer, including the 665,000 at CL&P and the rest at UI.

Under the proposal, modified in a new agreement to satisfy skeptical lawmakers, anyone who wanted could opt out of the auction and remain with the standard offer. Malloy had originally wanted all customer accounts sold.

Those marketers would not be allowed to charge a fee for customers switching, and they would have to offer a 5 percent reduction below the standard offer for the first 12 months.

But guess what — that 5 percent reduction was based on the present price of generation, and according to Gaudiosi, the state’s procurement manager, standard service customers were going to see at least that much anyway because of market conditions — and because of a new buying strategy that the state was going to put into effect this year.

Worse, the window for lower prices might be closing, Gaudiosi said.

“Right now they’re at a holding pattern,” he said. “That big drop that we saw over the last couple of years is kind of ending.”

We don’t know for sure what the actual savings would have been. It could have been less than 5 percent in the end. And of course, it’s not unheard of for proposed legislation to affect markets; think military-style rifles. But if the lost savings were, say, 8 percent, we’d be looking at $4.25 a month for the average customer, not $2.80.

Gaudiosi was hired under a restructuring law adopted by the General Assembly in 2011, which put oversight of electricity procurement for CL&P and UI under PURA, the regulatory agency.  For years, the power companies bought most of their electricity in three-year contracts, by law, and the new rules changed that — allowing Gaudiosi and the power companies to go out for 12-month contracts, saving money as cheap natural gas from shale brought prices down.

That new buying strategy was supposed to start in 2013.  UI enacted some of the strategy at the start of this year, and will see some savings. But CL&P did not, because of the looming auction issue and the timing of its contracts.

The loss of savings for customers will anger opponents of the auction. Their argument about the auction itself is that a smaller standard offer pool, with less buying power, will mean higher prices and will not set a low enough bar for the private marketers to meet — as the standard offer does now.  They also say the auction would let some companies take unfair advantage of people who are not equipped or inclined to follow developments and change their service.

Supporters say there are enough private marketers to compete fiercely. The entry of hundreds of thousands more customers into a system with strong consumer protections would make the market all the more robust and would drive down prices further, they say.

It’s hard to say who’s right on that issue. We’ve seen deregulated markets work well for customers (airline prices) and poorly (telecom and cable rates).  But already, electric customers are in the hole.

John Erlingheuser, the chief lobbyist for AARP, is among the staunchest opponents.  He heard about the lost savings earlier this month, and recalled the early days after Connecticut’s retail generation market was deregulated and rates shot up.

“I thought, here we go again, crazy energy policy is affecting rates.”

CL&P To Ratepayers: Please Remit $414 Million For Storms of 2011-12

by Categorized: Public finance, Utilities Date:

Connecticut Light & Power filed more than 600 pages of documents with regulators Thursday, launching its case for reimbursement of $462 million the company said it spent on five major storms over the last two years including Sandy, Irene and the freak snowstorm of October, 2011.

The company had said it might not seek a payback until 2014.  In all, the company said it spent $462 million but is seeking less from ratepayers.

Here’s the rundown, with the October snowstorm likely to generate the most controversy:

1. October 2011 Nor’easter snowstorm:  $175 million (1.44 million customers restored).

2. Storm Sandy, October-November 2012: $156 million (856,184 customers restored).

3. Tropical Storm Irene, August 2011: $111 million (1 million customers restored).

4. June 2011 storm: $11 million (209,045 customers restored).

5. Sept. 2012 storm: $9 million (80,575 customers restored).

CL&P is seeking $414 million of the total because its parent company, Northeast Utilities, agreed to forgo $40 million from the nor’easter as a condition of its 2012 merger with Boston-based NSTAR.  Several official reports panned CL&P’s handling of that storm recovery, which cost the former head of the company his job. In addition, an $8 million storm recovery fund was already set aside.

It remains unclear what the reimbursements would to do customers’ rates. The $414 million amounts to an average of nearly $400 from each of the company’s 1.2 million customers — money that would be added to the rate base, collected over a period of years.

“The damage from these natural disasters and the response to complete repairs was extraordinary and unlike anything in CL&P history,” said Bill Herdegen, the CL&P president.   “Typically, storms of this magnitude strike years or decades apart, but in 16 months, we experienced four of the company’s ten most devastating storms.  Responding to Mother Nature’s wrath is a necessary, but costly part of the utility business.”

Those costs included bringing in thousands of outside tree and line crews and replacing thousands of utility poles, transformers and segments of wire.

“Necessary” is the key word, as the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority will consider whether the company’s actions were that, and were prudent.



Electric Grid Operator’s Move Could Fetch $4 Million From State in Questionable Deal

by Categorized: Energy, Public finance, Utilities Date:

ISO New England, the nonprofit business that runs the region’s electricity grid, is in line for $4 million in state assistance for a $39 million back-up control center that’s under construction in Windsor.

The control center would replace a smaller back-up facility in Newington, which ISO-NE — the Independent System Operator, based in Holyoke, Mass. — said will soon be outmoded and can’t be expanded.  It will have 25 employees at first, with room for as many as 145 people in a state-of-the building off Day Hill Road, and it will act as a simulator for the Holyoke control room.

ISO New England’s local expansion is good for the Connecticut economy and it performs a crucial function. But it raises serious concerns.

The state assistance deal, a forgivable loan that could be approved by the Bond Commission as soon as Jan. 25, was uncovered by my colleague Brian Dowling, who also learned from federal documents that ISO will use Connecticut’s borrowing power to finance as much as $36 million at phenomenally low interest rates.

ISO, one of seven regional electric grid operators in the United States, is established and regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which must approve the ISO budgets.  The money comes from fees levied on generators such as Dominion Resources, owner of the Millstone nuclear station, and transmission companies such as Connecticut Light & Power.

Since we pay for all of this through electric rates that are regulated by the state, and since ISO is a regulated, sole-source provider, the company is, in essence, performing a government function.  That’s partly why it’s able to borrow through a quasi-government agency, Connecticut Innovations.  It’s similar to the shadow government that includes such agencies as the Metropolitan District Commission and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, although unlike those groups, ISO has an independent board, not publicly appointed.

Using public borrowing power makes sense, since that saves us money. But why should the taxpayers hand over $4 million for an outfit that walks and quacks like a quasi-public agency? The agency should locate its offices where it makes the best sense for us, the region’s ratepayers, without considering greenmail from one or more states.

ISO, in fact, didn’t wait for the $4 million loan through the state Department of Economic and Community Development. It went ahead and bought the land and started the work because Windsor made the most sense under ISO-NE’s own criteria, including distance from Holyoke and highway accessibility.

This is especially nettlesome since Connecticut  state officials — the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority under Chairman Arthur H. House; Attorney General George Jepsen; and state Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz — formally opposed ISO New England’s $165 million budget for 2013, and persuaded FERC to hold a hearing on it.  The budget is up by nearly 10 percent from last year and the payroll has ballooned from 180 in 1997 to a proposed 563 today.  More than half of all staffers earn at least $100,ooo a year, and, the Connecticut officials said, received bonuses averaging 9 percent in 2012.

All of this might be fully justifiable and the Jan. 24 hearing could show that. ISO-NE has the vast role of creating and managing a daily and long-term market for power, a job that became much more complex after 1998 when utilities were forced to sell generation plants. And ISO must plan for and coordinate the region’s electricity needs, all of which it appears to do smoothly.

Still, this business is financially accountable to the public and probably ought to be more so — perhaps with a publicly appointed board, for example, or, as the Connecticut officials suggest, with annual, public budget hearings. And part of that means it does not participate in the sort of corporate relocation greenmail that is unavoidable in the true private sector — and which costs the taxpayers dearly, for better or for worse.

Jim Watson, spokesman for the state Department of Economic and Community Development, said Connecticut was in a competition with Vermont and Massachusetts, and acted wisely by offering the money.

“Our primary focus is making sure that this investment and those jobs stay in this state and not a neighboring state,” Watson said.

The loan forgiveness terms are easy for ISO to meet: It must reach 25 jobs within three years and keep them here for at least a year.  At $160,000 per job, $4 million is a steep price to pay, but Watson and ISO expect the number of employees to rise higher. So, why not set a higher target for the money?

The broader question is whether the ratepayers of New England need a facility that costs $465 per square foot on top of the $6 million in computer equipment that will live there.

“This new facility is needed to ensure we can continue to provide these essential services without interruption and meet federal power system reliability requirements,”  ISO spokeswoman Marcia Blomberg said in an email.

As with ISO-NE’s staffing and budget, that may well be true.  The Newington location is smaller and inferior to all six other ISO back-up sites across the country, ISO-NE  documents show.  ISO-NE is not guilty of hiding its plans, as this has all been filed publicly and has been the subject of open meetings.

Still, it ought to be a more public process, akin to CL&P rate cases.  And it ought to deploy site location methods that exclude greenmail pitting taxpayers against ratepayers.


Oil Dealers To Malloy: Faulty Natural Gas Price Assumptions Threaten Jobs

by Categorized: Energy, Utilities Date:

Heating oil dealers are crowding into hearings on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s energy plan, arguing that a multi-billion-dollar investment in the natural gas infrastructure might be a bad bet.
Malloy’s energy plan calls for a sharply increased reliance on natural gas in part because prices will remain far lower than home heating oil for the foreseeable future. That’s based largely on supplies and new technology that lets us get at the gas in the ground in nearby Pennsylvania and New York.
The oil dealers are attacking that assumption at a hearing in New Haven Monday evening, and at hearings in Hartford at the Department of Energy and Environmental protection offices beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday and at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Storrs.
Energy prices are notoriously volatile and hard to predict, they point out. And they highlighted the state’s new fiscal crisis — which arose suddenly last week with new estimates — as an illustration of the folly of forecasting.
“If it is this difficult to predict a state budget deficit over three weeks, imagine how impossible it is to project energy price over 5, 6 or 7 years,” said Gene Guilford, president of the Independent Connecticut Petroleum Association, which represents oil dealers.
Worse, said the engineer and energy consultant who prepared a report for the association, for 24 of the last 31 years, oil prices were lower than gas for home heating, and we just might revert back to that pattern.
“Extrapolating future prices for the next 25 years based on a four year price difference does not produce reliable price values and can severely overestimate projected cost saving by switching from oil to natural gas,” said John E. Batey of Energy Research Center Inc., in Easton. “This is a serious deficiency in the draft Comprehensive Energy Plan.”
Batey added, “When biodiesel fuels are blended with home heating oil at a ratio of only 15% to 20%, home heating oil has a lower global warming potential than natural gas. Biofuel use in homes is increasing, and it can be an important option for meeting Connecticut’s renewable resource goals.”
The energy plan includes incentives for conservation and more electricity generation from renewable sources. On natural gas, the plan asserts, “America’s energy situation has been dramatically transformed by the increased availability of domestic shale gas at prices that are significantly lower than oil. “Only 31 percent of Connecticut homes heat with gas today, compared with 47 percent in Massachusetts and 48 percent in Rhode Island.”
The plan calls for 900 miles of new gas main lines, mostly financed by the industry but with relaxed rules. Much of that would be built with or without a state policy, as the two major gas companies see the same opportunity that Malloy and DEEP Commissioner Dan Esty sees.
Malloy, in his trademark fashion, is already moving ahead with parts of the policy. On Monday, he touted a new natural gas line to Amity Regional High School in Woodbridge.

The hearings continue Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Room 106, at UCONN – Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering, 3107 Horsebarn Hill Road, Building 4 Annex, U-4210, Storrs; and this coming Monday at 6 p.m., in City Hall Auditorium, 140 Main Street – 2nd floor, Torrington.

With Sandy Outages Restored, CL&P Sending Crews To NY, NJ

by Categorized: Utilities Date:

CL&P is sending out-of-state line and tree crews to New York and New Jersey, and adding some of its own crews to help out, now that all Sandy-caused outages that can be restored are back in service.

The company held onto  3,300 linemen and tree-clearing workers that were brought in for Sandy restoration until it was clear that damage from Wednesday’s nor’easter was under control.  As it happened, it appears that Connecticut Light & Power didn’t need all that firepower.

It remained unclear at midday Thursday whether any of the out-of-state crews were being kept by the company, for more work in Connecticut. And the number of CL&P crews being sent to the devastated region to our south was still being worked out, spokesman Mitch Gross said.  CL&P has 400 staff linemen and 300 local tree workers under long-term contracts.

The company is mounting a sendoff later Thursday afternoon at its Berlin headquarters, as trucks gather and then leave en masse.

The last of the Sandy-related outages were restored late Wednesday afternoon, in Greenwich. The company didn’t release the crews at that time because other outages, largely from the latest storm, numbered in the thousands and were still rising in the evening.

“We were watching the weather very closely, and there was plenty of work still to do with Sandy, and we knew the storm was heading up the coast,” Gross said Wednesday.

The CL&P emergency operations center in Berlin remained open Wednesday, and many of the 2,000 company employees

In all, CL&P restored power to 850,000 customers from Sandy-caused damage, strung more than 100 miles of overhead lines; and replaced 2,400 transformers and 5,000 cross-arms.  The highest total at one time was just over 500,000 at about 2 a.m. last Tuesday.  It’s still not clear how many of the 850,000 were knocked out of power more than once, as crews worked.

Shortly after noon Thursday, CL&P had 1,748 customers out of power, mostly in Norwalk. United Illuminating, which had 150,000 customers without power at the peak last week, had 255 customer outages at midday Thursday.

UI placed the restoration cost at $35 million to $40 million. CL&P has not released an estimate.

CL&P: Last Of Sandy Outages Restored; 4,000 Line and Tree Workers Still On the Job

by Categorized: Utilities Date:

Nine days after Sandy left more than 500,000 Connecticut Light & Power customers without electricity, the number of fixable outages from the historic storm has fallen to zero, the company said Wednesday.

Despite that milestone, the utility that covers 149 cities and towns in the state had 2,700 line workers and more than 1,300 tree workers on the job, with 3,300 of those from out of state.

At 9 p.m. Wednesday, CL&P had 3,980 customers without power, according to the company’s now-famous, multi-colored map.  That’s less than one-half of 1 percent of the 1.2 million CL&P customers.  But those outages were from later events, mostly Wednesday’s nor’easter, said spokesman Mitch Gross.

The latest storm was the reason CL&P kept all those folks in the state this week, Gross said.

“We were watching the weather very closely, and there was plenty of work still to do with Sandy, and we knew the storm was heading up the coast,” Gross said.

In fact, the CL&P emergency operations center in Berlin remained open Wednesday.

This seems like a bit of overkill for what appears to be a storm that’s just a notch above the usual winter fare, with some higher-than-normal winds. Earlier Wednesday, there were several thousand outages, mostly on the shoreline, and the total dipped, then rose back up again.

New York and New Jersey could probably use the manpower at this point, if CL&P were to release the crews. By keeping the workers on, is the company overreacting to the weather, following the lead of many media outlets?

No, Gross said, just being prudent. Most of the company’s 2,000 employees who had storm duty are still not back to their regular jobs, he said. “We still have customers that need to be taken care of.”

In all, CL&P restored power to 850,000 customers from Sandy-caused damage, strung more than 100 miles of overhead lines; and replaced 2,400 transformers and 5,000 cross-arms.

The company announced at 6:15 p.m. that the last of the restorable customers who lost power in Sandy were back with power, noting that about 1,000 can’t be restored yet because of damage to their property. The last Sandy-affected group to regain power was in Greenwich.

It’s still not clear how many of the 850,000 were knocked out of power more than once, as crews worked.

United Illuminating, which had 150,000 customers without power at the peak last week, had 2,530 as of 9 p.m. Wednesday, less than 1 percent.  Most of those were not from Sandy, as the total was below 600 on Tuesday night.

UI placed the restoration cost at $35 million to $40 million. CL&P didn’t have an estimate yet.

CL&P And The Towns: Okay For Now

by Categorized: Politics, Utilities Date:

Connecticut Light & Power passed its first big town relations test as most local officials said they were satisfied with the company’s communications management, if not the number of crews in their borders.  But as the days pile up, nerves are getting more frayed.

Read our story on how it’s going.  We left out a very colorful quote from one town official who said the liaisons are well meaning but don’t know much about power. “You could get anyone…it could be the lady in payroll.”

Well, that’s the point — rank-and-file office employees getting out to the towns. No offense meant to the folks of any gender who work in the depths of operations.



Both Union Chiefs Among 8 Percent With Power Out At CL&P

by Categorized: Utilities Date:

By 4:30 p.m. Monday, 8 percent of the CL&P service area was out of power and those in the dark included, by coincidence, the heads of both unions representing line workers.

Frank Cirillo and John Fernandes, business managers of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers locals 457 and 420, respectively, took it in stride. hey both spent the afternoon checking on workers, making sure the overlay of CL&P crew and outside linemen was smooth.

“Everybody’s out there working, but the damage hasn’t even begun yet. I think we’re in for a long night,” said Cirillo, of Waterbury, where 7 percent of customers were in the dark.

An hour later, at 5 p.m., CL&P was up to 14 percent in the dark.