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Letter: No hint when lights would go on

Published 10:56 am, Friday, November 9, 2012
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It had been eight days since electric power to my home had been interrupted. I followed the progress of CL&P's restorations and waited with great anticipation for the arrival of utility equipment. No such luck!

After listening, ad nauseam, to Gordon Joseloff's less-than-helpful daily robocalls regarding his utter frustration with the CL&P restoration efforts, I called the selectman's office to see if any light might be shed (no pun intended) on the restoration of electric service on our street.

I was promptly transferred to the town's Emergency Operations Center, where I was told that someone would return my call within the hour. An hour later, with no return call, I called again. Whomever I spoke with offered no estimate of restoration and advised me that only CL&P has that information. I asked if our town officials talk with CL&P and was told that meetings were occurring twice daily.

I next called CL&P, spoke with a live individual who, in keeping with our utility's customary practice, could tell me nothing.

So there I sat, with no more information than I had when the lights went out more than a week earlier. From the answers I received, I can only conclude that Westport's coordination with CL&P did not include obtaining information on neighborhood priorities. Early in the evening on the eighth day of my power interruption, I received a phone call from the Emergency Operations Center and was advised that the lack of progress on our street would be discussed at a CL&P meeting which was about to begin. Within an hour of that phone call, a caravan of utility trucks arrived, and power was restored within a very short period.

While all of my pestering of operations-center personnel seemed to yield results, I would have appreciated some indication earlier of when power was expected to be restored to our neighborhood. As Westporters, shouldn't we reasonably expect that storm triage would involve obtaining enough information to put our collective minds at ease, particularly during a prolonged restoration effort? Keeping Westporters in the dark has been the hallmark of CL&P following the last four major storms. It is unfortunate that our own town cannot think ahead and insist on work schedules from our utility that might keep the electorate reasonably informed. Instead of following the CL&P customer service model of "no information," I would hope that our town leaders would, in the future, improve coordination with CL&P so that as restoration efforts drag on, we may all see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Peter Thorner

Westport