DANBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Many elected officials in Connecticut, including Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, say Eversource wasn’t prepared for Tropical Storm Isaias and didn’t act quickly enough to get residents back on the grid.
Tuesday, Eversource held a press conference and – despite all the criticism they’ve had from Governor Ned Lamont on down – patted itself on the back for its response to the storm.
Craig Hallstrom the President of Regional Electric Operations explained, “We’ve committed to a 99% restoration by midnight today; we’re well on our way to achieving that goal but, again, that still means that customers will be out and we’re gonna continue to work until everyone is back.”
The company reported just ahead of 7 p.m. Tuesday that they had made that goal. But even so, that leaves over 10,000 still in the dark a week after Isaias hit the state.
Eversource says with restoration efforts ongoing and back up crews coming in from all over the country and Canada, this is the largest number of continent crews on hand, larger than Super Storm Sandy and Hurricane Irene.
Eversource says tree damage and blocked roads have been the toughest barrier that has hindered power restoration efforts. Crews have been working 18-hour days for the last week to get CT back on the grid.
Officials say they aren’t stopping, and rest-assured, despite frustration and criticism from elected officials, they are working as fast and as safely as they can.
Danbury’s Mayor Mark Boughton is among the elected officials not happy with the energy company’s response to the storm aftermath.
Mayor Boughton said Tuesday, “Eversource, a company that made $250 million last quarter, a company that gave record bills, record bills to their ratepayers just last month, can’t get the lights turned on. It is absurd.”
Hallstrom rebutted that, compared to previous super storms, “the damage locations were larger, the customer impact was larger but we will complete this storm and up to 30% shorter time frame.”
But, Boughton says the response, as a whole, has been a failure: “All we’ve gotten from Eversource is broken promises and discussions on what will happen next. The fact of the matter is, it’s very simple, it’s not rocket science – you’ve gotta prepare for your storm, and you have to execute, that’s all you have to do. They couldn’t do that and they failed at epic proportions.”
Anger from residents and local town leaders in not only Danbury but Bethel and Ridgefield, as well. Many of whom were still in the dark Tuesday evening. All pointing fingers at Eversource.
Berlin First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker added, “If the company recognized that the western part of our state was hardest hit, I would ask why it took three full days before the town of Bethel saw a single crew?”
But Eversource doubling down, saying they were prepared for the response efforts, adding they’ll continue to work to get customers’ power back.