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.