HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Governor Ned Lamont has announced that he is activating the Connecticut National Guard Thursday and has approved the deployment of teams to help utility companies in the state’s power restoration efforts following Tropical Storm Isaias.
Officials say that the initial phase would involve four route clearance teams that will support authorities in the removal of large debris that are blocking roadways. The teams will consist of three vehicles and seven personnel. Two of the teams will support United Illuminating and two of the teams will support Eversource.
The Connecticut Army and Air National Guard will be used to support these route clearing efforts and additional teams could be added in the coming days.
“Since the beginning of the storm on Tuesday we made considerable progress about 565,000 customers have been restored,” said Craig Hallstrom, President of Electrical Operations at Eversource Friday. “By the end of tomorrow, we’ll have upwards of 2000 crews, more actually on this restoration, focused on getting this done.”
Hallstrom added, “Were identifying critical customers like the Department of Labor – they needed their service up so we expedited that. We’ve also been doing work with hospitals and police departments…[It] takes as many resources basically to get five customers going as it does 2,000, so, unfortunately, some people will wait ’til Tuesday.”
“The Connecticut National Guard has been a major component in our efforts to minimize the impact of COVID-19 in our state, and now we’re also calling on their service to help our residents out following another major weather event. We continue to work with our municipal counterparts to help ensure they have what they need to restore power and clear our roadways,” said Lamont.
Captain David Pytlik said guardsmen said they started helping around 10 a.m. on Friday.
Similar support was given during some other recent major weather events, including the microbursts of May 2018.
“Connecticut National Guardsmen aren’t just Soldiers and Airmen – the overwhelming majority are Connecticut residents,” Major General Fran Evon, Adjutant General and Commander of the Connecticut National Guard, said. “When called out to support in a time of need, we aren’t just performing a mission, we’re helping our families, our neighbors, our coworkers and our friends. We are proud to train for missions just like this in an effort to remain always ready and always there to support our fellow residents during times of need.”
Governor Lamont declared a state of emergency on Wednesday in response to the tropical storm that hit Tuesday.
Eversource told News 8 the recovery is taking much longer than expected because the winds from Tropical Storm Isaias “were more significant than anybody thought.”