BERLIN, Conn. (WTNH) -- The state's largest utility, Connecticut Light & Power, opened its emergency operations center late Thursday morning, attempting to line up potentially needed line crews within a several hundred mile radius of Connecticut.
"We are having conversations right now with 'mutual assistance' organizations and contractors within a two to three day drive from here, trying to ascertain their availability," Mitch Gross from CL&P said.
Because of the uncertainty of the severity of the storm in here in the northeast, mutual assistance from nearby states appears not to be a good plan. Late Thursday afternoon, CL&P said that they have reached out to the midwestern states and expect to have 2,000 linemen in place by Sunday.
With the anniversary of last year's Autumn Nor'easter still fresh in mind, the state's other major utility, United Illuminating , said it too is calling in the troops.
"We currently have about 100 FTE's on site," Michael West from UI said. "Full time equivalent employees that could assist and then we've actually contacted another 300 or so folks that could assist us during this storm."
In Eastern Connecticut, Norwich Public Utilities said it is ready to coordinate its response with other city departments. "NPU crews are prepared to handle whatever issues arise from this storm," General Manager John Bilda said in a statement. "Our standard procedure, once we learn of a potential storm approaching our region, is to begin organizing resources, positioning our assets, and preparing our crews.""
Gov. Dannel Malloy is urging residents to prepare. Does he think the utility companies are ready this time?
"I think they're more prepared than they've been, they have more at risk, quite frankly, in light of the legislation we've passed," Governor Malloy said.
The new law passed in the aftermath of what was considered a bad performance by CL&P a year ago, says that the company will face hefty fines if they do not perform up to certain standards for power restoration.
"We also drilled this, this very storm in essence, for four days this past summer, pretty high stakes for the utilities on this whole thing, they can lose a lot of money," Malloy said.
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