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.