Right now as you read this, one dozen CL&P crews are on the ground working to restore power in Branford afterSandy knock the lights out. Two more crews are working in Guilford to restore power to Branford. The good news, David Ferrante, CL&P Town Liaison said, is that the number of residents without power keeps declining but the number of CL&P crews will not until every resident has power.
CL&P estimates 98 percent restoration by Monday or Tuesday but Ferrante said that number is based on specific residences. He anticipates most of the town to be back on the grid by this weekend, possibly as late as Sunday.
This morning more places have come back online including the Soundview Family YMCA (open to the public for showers), the Town Transfer Station and the Branford Animal Shelter. The transfer station will be open Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for drop off; collection will resume Monday (hours also extended until 5 p.m. every day until Sunday).
Power restoration began from the town’s main substation on East Main Street and then outward from there, said Ferrante who has been station at the town Emergency Operation Center since Sunday. CL&P, he said, also works with the town to get power on for critical areas in town like Hospice, which was evacuated Monday. All Hospice evacuees were brought back today when power was restored.
Other critical facilities in town are the Wastewater Treatment Plant and the schools – those Ferrante was hopeful, would be back on the grid today.
CL&P has been averaging about 25 percent restoration since the storm began, said Ferrante but as of 2 p.m. today, they were still at 37 percent – about 10 percent less than where they started this morning.
Branford Patch Facebook reader wrote in this afternoon saying that she felt no power has been restored overnight. “It looks to me as though hardly anything happened between your post 15 hours ago and now.”
Ferrante said crews are working as quickly as they can and he expects more people to be coming back online by the end of the day today.
Patch sat with Ferrante as he used his computer to show us in real time where crews were actively working. Using GPS trackers on every CL&P truck (or contractor’s truck) Ferrante explained how crews were getting restoration done.
Branford’s main substation on East Main Street feeds substations on Meadow Street and on Pine Orchard Road. From those auxiliary substations, the outlying areas get power. The good news was that the East Main Street substation survived the storm unaffected. It sits next to the Branford River so there was some concern that it might not make it through without flooding. The contingency plan was to patch in power overhead from Guilford, Ferrante said. “Thank God we didn’t have to do that.”
Also this morning a resident asked why CL&P has only recently activated their “full restoration mode?”
Ferrante said full restoration means that all crews are devoted to restoration rather than doing preparation, hazard management or damage assessment.
A CL&P crew arrived in Branford Sunday night said Ferrante and began preparation work with Branford Public Works. Just after the storm, CL&P crews in conjunction with PWD, began clearing roadways and hazards – securing downed trees and wires and making roads passable for emergency vehicles. In total, CL&P and PWD assessed more than 60 trees down with wires since Sandy struck. Since yesterday, most CL&P crews have been completely devoted to restoration.
Compared to Irene Ferrante said, “CL&P actually got our resources here much sooner.” They also worked much more efficiently with PWD this time, he said, making restoration that much quicker.
Using many new online tools to track restoration, Ferrante said the handling of Sandy has been much better than it was for Irene. “I didn’t even have a computer that was working,” last year, he said.
Averaging 25 percent restoration every day since the storm knocked out 87 percent of Branford’s power, Ferrante said he’s hopeful that near-full restoration will be sooner rather than later. “People think it’s going to be days and days and I don’t see that happening,” he said.