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Power Update: CL&P Has a Face in Branford, He’s Known as ‘Kilowatt’

Affectionately called ‘Kilowatt’ by town members; CL&P’s town liaison gives you the latest update on Branford’s power restoration post Sandy. Most residents should be back online by this weekend.

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. 

Heather Brooke November 01, 2012 at 06:16 PM
We're already at days and a day without power. I would agree that things are moving more quickly this time, but I am quickly losing patience, the ability to sit in my home without shivering, and upset about one thing in particular. We were told that a goal for CL&P during future outages would be updating people with more accurate estimates for restoration of their power. I am now nearly 72 hours without power and this is still the only information I can get: "We are aware of an outage affecting your area. Estimated restoration times are currently unavailable. You can check your estimated restoration time once it becomes available at My Outage Status" This is unacceptable.
Nicole Ball November 01, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Yikes! Just heard that something major just happened with the transmission feed to the town. We're now at 84 percent without power. Please be patient as we get some answers from CL&P. David just answered our call and will be speaking with us soon.
celia November 01, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Palmer Rd lost power again.
cirrus November 01, 2012 at 07:48 PM
They should not charge us for the month
cirrus November 01, 2012 at 07:55 PM
Mr.kilowatt , no one has seen ANYutility trucks in stony creek and all tree work we have seen has been by local tree services. We pay the highest power rates in the country and you wait three days to go in full mode?? Every person on the east coast knew a massive storm was coming. Your profit minded staff could have started three days earlier to be ready for 'full restore' mode from the start. Wish there was alternatives to your dismal profit driven mothods
cirrus November 01, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Please show a GPS map of where the vehicles are.
Steve from SAAC November 01, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Mr. Kilowatt, can you please send some CL&P workers out to the eastern end of town ASAP to start working on the mess of downed wires and lack of electricity to residents. I have yet to see a CL&P truck out anywhere in my neck of the woods (specifically Saw Mill Road, which is the last road in Branford off of Rt. 146, before the Guilford line), and this is of Thursday afternoon, November 1, 2012. I call CL&P's power outage line three times a day and dutifully report my outage, but get no sense that there is anyone listening on the other end of the line. CL&P PLEASE FIX THIS.
cirrus November 01, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Reports of crews enjoying long dinners &drinks at Su Casa last night. Long. No reports of same crews working.
cirrus November 01, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Display images of crews taking long dinner breaks along side the devastation to shame the utilities.
Nicole Ball November 01, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Cirrus, if you click through the picture gallery above, you can see the GPS dots where the trucks are. David was pretty open about showing us where the crews were, ect. Although I begged him to restore power at out house, the truth is he dosen't control where the trucks go. As mentioned above, they start at then substation and then work out (that does mean that far areas of town may be the last to get power back on. Also, some houses with hazards may not be turned on while their neighbors get power. I do know they are logging every call at the EOC very diligently so I don't think anyone's issues are totally falling on deaf ears. Just a matter of time I guess. I hope everyone stays warm tonight...
Michael November 01, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Nicole, your bias is evident here. No offense to you or David, but I saw it too. Before I left last night to Mohegan area. Line crews including meter readers, tree trucks even state guys all getting together to have these long dinners, breakfasts why? Because if you haven't work for a utility (I have) they pay for everything. You dont even pay up front just forward the checks to the management and they send it up to the utilities to pay. I have a lot of respect for this type of employment, but in all honesty I have seen better people act more responsibly. Anyone that doesn't know you get paid nice money during storms as am employee especially when you have no expenses your own. Depending on experience some of these guys are earning as much as $60/hr to as low as $25-30. I mean do the math.
cirrus November 02, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Nicole Two on I95 and four in town. For a storm like this? They are doing a miserable job. Do a poll.
John Opie November 02, 2012 at 11:53 AM
John CL&P should be using the reverse 911 function to do daily activity reports. It's there to use and it's really the only information the citizens want to hear. While I have respect for CL&P and their crews, I too am getting very frustrated with the complete lack of attention the eastern shoreline is getting.
bball fan November 02, 2012 at 12:32 PM
You can let Mr. Ferrante that the system is a joke. I have an energized wire that is holding a large tree up from falling on my house. I have been calling for 3 days with an emergency. All I need is for CLP to drop the line so that a tree crew can take the tree down. I am the one person who wants my power turned off. A CLP rep actually told my wife to not sleep on the top floor. Really?! Just so people know, when you call CLP emergency line, it's the same as reporting an outage. They just make you feel better thinking you are contacting someone who actually can do something. Your call goes to someone in Windsor, who then sends it to Berlin (CT I hope) and then it is sent to a dispatcher in Madison then decides who goes where. I understand many people are still without power, but this is something that literally takes one guy 20 minutes to do and could save a house and possibly injury.
cirrus November 02, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Can we see a screenshot of where the vehicles are now?
Steve from SAAC November 02, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Mr. Kilowatt, can you PLEASE send some CL&P workers out to the eastern end of town (Saw Mill Road area, off of Route 146, near the Guilford border). We are in very difficult straits here--PLEASE HELP US.
Paul November 02, 2012 at 03:09 PM
I can look 3 houses down on Northford Rd where the stop sign is at Ridge Acres Rd and see lights. They have been on since Tuesday. Why the rest of Northford Rd and Brookhills Rd out of power? Now I'm being told it will be back on by Tuesday. Something is wrong with this picture. Very frustrated.
Jo Mustaro November 02, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Please explain how some parts of Branford Hills / condo hill have power yet orchard heights condos, orchard hill , Florence Rd, and Bsllou Rd have no power yet ?? Close yet so far? !! Was told today by Kyle at CL&P that two crew were assigned and possible transformer issues yet NO visible signs of any crew? All people want to know is when? Thanks Jo - OH resident and board member
Ria Antido November 03, 2012 at 05:02 PM
I also live in Orchard Heights and this morning, the estimated restoration date was today at 11:30am. It is almost 1:00pm and Orchard Heights remains WITHOUT power. The new estimation is for Monday by 6:00pm. I realize that there are many others in a situation far worse than ours, but I dont understand why almost everyone else in this area has power and Orchard Heights doesn't.

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