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Malloy Questions Utilities' Hurricane Sandy Response

In his afternoon briefing, the governor said he's been told by some town leaders that the help they're getting from the utility companies is less than what the utilities have told Malloy they are doing.

For the first time since Hurricane Sandy blew a swath of destruction through Connecticut, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is questioning the response by the state's two main utility companies to widespread power outages and warning that both could be censured by regulators if that response is found lacking.

While calling on the 217,000 residents who are still without power following Hurricane Sandy to be patient while they wait for their lights to come back on,  Malloy today said he is troubled by reports that some towns might not be getting an appropriate number of utility work crews.

In his afternoon briefing on the cleanup efforts from the superstorm that hit the state Monday and Tuesday, Malloy said he also has told leaders of CL&P and United Illuminating that he expects them to do all they can to get power mostly restored faster than their current estimate of Monday or Tuesday.

“I have communicated to both companies, in blunt fashion, that I want them to do better than that.”

Malloy said he is also concerned about reports from some municipal leaders that they don’t have as many utility workers as were promised.

“I’m hearing some of the same complaints that I heard last year. One of the ones that bothers me the most is that what utility companies are telling me is not lining up with what mayors or first selectmen say is happening in their towns and I’ve asked for an accounting of that disconnect. I’m not sure who’s right and who’s wrong.”

At the same time, Malloy again asked residents and town leaders to be patient as workers toil to bring power back fully.

“This was a titanic event that only ended hours ago, not weeks.”

Under a new state law passed after last year’s two devastating storms, the utilities will be subjected to a state review of their response to Hurricane Sandy and the power outages. If the state finds that response lacking, Malloy said, both CL&P and United Illuminating could be subjected to fines.

“I want every resident of the state to know that there is a process to test (the companies) and that test will be undertaken.”

Malloy spoke twice today with President Barack Obama to discuss the state’s restoration progress, once privately and once in a conference call with other governors from other Northeast states affected by the storm.

The president, he said, has assured him that he will work to help Connecticut get a full disaster declaration. Currently, only the state’s four shoreline counties have been granted that designation by the federal government, Middlesex, Fairfield, New London and New Haven.

Other highlights of the governor’s briefing included:

  • There have been 29 confirmed carbon monoxide poisonings since the hurricane hit, 26 related to the use of generators in unventilated or poorly ventilated areas. Malloy again urged residents using generators to make sure they are outside and far enough away from windows or doors that the exhaust does not find its way inside.
  • He reiterated that financial assistance is available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for residents, businesses and municipalities but registration is required. You can register by calling 800.621.FEMA, or 800.462.7585 for the hearing impaired.
  • The state has gotten $2 million in federal funding to repair state highways in Old Saybrook, West Haven and Bethel.
  • The state has issued a boil advisory for 69 small water systems in the state where the water might have been contaminated. Malloy said that despite the advisory, the vast majority of water in the state is safe to drink.
  • He again warned would-be price gougers that if they take advantage of the crisis in some communities to scam residents “we will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”
  • He warned residents still waiting for power to come back on not to take their frustrations out on power line workers they encounter, saying he’s heard reports of some incidents of people yelling at linemen or stopping them to ask questions. “Please leave the line workers alone. It’s not their fault. They didn’t cause this storm, please let them do their jobs.”
Democrat November 02, 2012 at 03:42 AM
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Flowers November 02, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Whats with the "suit and no tie" look. Are we to conclude that the good Governor has been unloading water jugs or is going out to power saw trees? A man of action rather than a distant bureaucrat?
Beverage Guy November 02, 2012 at 01:22 PM
LOL.....I had to just get up off the floor I was laughing so hard.
patriot76 November 03, 2012 at 12:59 PM
can we fine dan malloy for not getting what we were told we would get when he was elected. what about all branches of government. i think we should raise our taxes so we can start fining our elected officals, then they could use the extra tax monies to pay all the fines. it was a storm, not the first, not the last. some people have no power, some have no homes. there is no "plan" that the power companies, or anyone, can have for such an event. you can prepare, but mother nature always bats last. i feel sad for the people on the beaches, but to keep rebuilding is an invitation to more disaster. i grew up down on the beaches b.c.(before condos) and dont remember too many seasons without a storm or some kind of flooding. here it is 40 yrs later and its still being flooded out, i don't think we'll ever figure this one out.
Richard Poulton November 03, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Just one question or comment. State shoreline classified as a federal disaster area. Governor called in NG to patrol hard hit areas to prevent looting, etc.... The President just commented "he" would be there to help those in need to cleanup & rebuild. Great. But what these people need now is a way to start clean up and disposal of pieces of their wrecked homes. Places to put refrig, washers/dryers, furniture, whatever. Why isn't the CT NG in town with an engineer battalion, with large front-end loaders, dump trucks, dumpsters, whatever is needed to allow people to throw away there destroyed belongings. Or are they being told to get there own dumpsters and and haul all this now junk to the dump on their own? One would think onces something is classified as a disaster area such would be called into play. Not residing in an area hard hit with lots of destruction, can anyone advise on how this cleanup is to occure.

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