A public forum to discuss Connecticut Light & Power outages caused by Tropical Storm Irene is scheduled for 7 p.m. today (Thursday, Oct. 13) in Westport Town Hall.

The meeting was organized by a local woman and will be facilitated by state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, D-Westport, a member of the legislature's Energy and Technology Committee.

First Selectman Gordon Joseloff also has committed to attend, according to the organizer, Rozanne Gates. Municipal leaders from other Fairfield County towns have been invited, she said in a news release, and the meeting is open to all county residents.

Nearly a half-million customers of CL&P and United Illuminating Co. lost power because of the Aug. 28 storm, and thousands of them were without service for a week, including many in Westport.

"We've heard from the utilities analyzing their response to the storm. But we can't begin to develop plans to deal with the next storm until we've heard directly from homeowners," Steinberg said in Gates' news release. "Their stories and suggested improvements, particularly regarding communications, are critical to doing better next time."

CL&P has conceded it must do a better job communicating with customers left without power.

Gates said her power was restored within 24 hours, but many of her friends were without power more than a week.

"My concern is that this kind of damage will continue to recur every time a big storm comes along -- spring, summer, winter, or fall. What is CL&P doing to make sure that our electricity is not vulnerable to the weather conditions?"

About 100 trees came down in Westport during Irene, public works officials said, about half as many as during a March 2010 storm.

Information about the meeting is available by calling Gates at 203-984-7562.