CL&P, UI, AT&T Confident As Storm Prep Advances

by Categorized: Utilities Date:

Connecticut Light & Power spent Friday afternoon continuing to arrange for 2,700 out-of-state workers to arrive by Sunday, mostly from the Midwest, including 2,000 line workers and 700 tree workers.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy took a moment to remind everyone in a press conference Friday that the company is under pressure to outperform its restoration work of last fall.

Is CL&P ready, one year later? We took a long look this week; read the story here. The company is confident, the unions are skeptical and public officials are cautiously optimistic.

The 2,700 workers would be in addition to the company’s 400 staff linemen and 300 tree workers who are already under regular contracts.  Some of the out-of-state workers are coming from utility companies under various mutual aid agreements, and others are through contractors contacted by CL&P.

As of late Friday afternoon, it remained unclear how many workers would actually arrive, as the company’s requests were being filled. Changes in the storm’s path could change staffing plans, but there is no schedule for when that might happen.

“It is entirely possible and it has happened in the past that you would have crews that are either already here or on the way, and they are basically thanked and they are off on their way, where another location could use them,” CL&P spokesman Mitch Gross said.

It was too soon to say Friday how much money CL&P was committing to bring the crews here. The company has set up staging areas in Middlebury, Middletown, Newtown, Waterford and Windsor, where the out-of-state crews will be based.

United Illuminating had secured 500 out-of-state line and clearing workers through private contractors by Friday, in addition to its staff of 100, spokesman Michael West said.  They’re coming from as far away as Georgia and Alabama.

“That is as much as we had at the peak of Irene,” he said, when the New Haven-based utility, which covers 17 cities and towns, lost power to 210,000 out of 324,000 customers.

Beyond that, UI has requested 600 more people through the utilities’ mutual aid groups, West said. If they all come, it would dwarf the Irene totals. “It’s an insurance policy,” he said.

AT&T issued a release saying it has “an arsenal of disaster response equipment and personnel on standby as Hurricane Sandy nears Connecticut.”

The company said its national Network Disaster Recovery team, with 320 equipment trailers, can be deployed. Back-up power at all cell sites is secured and capacity was being added to the wireless network.

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