MIDDLEBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — One Middlebury man in the dark for nearly a week since Tropical Storm Isaias hit Connecticut says the long-term power outage has been especially hard on his grandson with autism.
“She’s had to go through hell since the electricity was out,” says Fred Harding of his daughter, Jennifer. While she is at work, he steps in to babysit for his non-verbal, 9-year-old grandson with autism.
Nearly a week without power, in the blazing heat, left the boy, Derek, confused and angry.
“He doesn’t have TV, doesn’t have his iPad, he has no teaching, no school, no one-on-one, so, he’s lost,” explains Harding. “So, what happens is – he regresses and his behavior gets out of hand and he gets very upset. When these kids get upset, they do things like bang their head against the wall.”
Derek is also gluten-free and eats special food that has been difficult to find during the pandemic. Harding, who lives in a Middlebury neighborhood still lined with storm damage, had stocked his freezer.
“I opened the freezer downstairs to throw a big bag of ice in it and everything I touched to fit the 20-pound bag of ice in it – is all soft,” he says.
The senior citizen believes he lost about $1,000 in food during these already tough times. He faced similar situations after Superstorm Sandy and the October Snowstorm of 2011, causing him to be angry with Eversource.
“Everybody came down on them. They promised to do better, prepare better and they didn’t, obviously. This is worse than the last one, as far as I can see,” says Harding.
Monday morning – day 7 since the tropical storm hit – crews were finally in the area, navigating debris and restoring power to residents like Harding.
“We’re not going to be reimbursed for [the] inconvenience but at least the food is one where they should go to the plate and take care of the people,” asserts Harding who will continue to take care of his grandson through thick and thin.
He hopes the power company is listening.
“They should be regulated, it should be monitored. What are you doing? How well are you taking care of these lines?” he asks, reiterating that residents should receive help and assurance that this prolonged outage won’t happen again.