How To Explain What’s Going On In Connecticut To Your Friends

The article is a scathing indictment of a company that’s put their customers last! It’s a must read for everyone in Connecticut and anyone who’s wondering what’s going on here.

As I type 294,496 of CL&P’s customers, nearly one in four, are still without electricity from a storm that hit six days ago! That’s crazy.

If you’re still without power I commend you for maintaining your sanity. As you’ve found, dark comes early this time of year. Nights get cold quickly. Unheated homes have seen their inside temperatures fall into the 40s.

When TV or newspapers show natural disasters they often position the cameras for maximum effect. That’s not necessary here. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of places around the state that look (or looked) like we’ve been through a battle!

But why so long to get the juice flowing? So far the best set of explanations I’ve read comes from Reuters’ Rob Cox writing on

[G]iving Northeast, specifically its Connecticut Light & Power subsidiary, a pass is like absolving Lehman Brothers of any blame for its demise in 2008. Like financial firms, utilities need to manage risks. And they have it relatively easy: much of the task simply involves clearing overhanging trees and other hazards from power lines.

Yet according to regulatory filings, CL&P slashed its maintenance spending by a whopping 26 percent from $130 million in 2008 to just $96.5 million last year. Put simply, that meant one in every four trees that could have been trimmed was left hanging, though the company says the maintenance line was depressed by a deferral of expenses for financial accounting purposes.

He goes on to contrast CL&P’s performance with that of Norwich Public Utilities, owned by the city of Norwich.

[I]t surely also helps that Norwich Public Utilities’ general manager, 12 linemen and five commissioners live in the community, drive the local roads, see the overhanging branches and bump into their customers at the Norwich town Mall

The article is a scathing indictment of a company that’s put their customers last! It’s a must read for everyone in Connecticut and anyone who’s wondering what’s going on here.

When I first came to Connecticut my phone company, bank and electric company were all local. No more. Who benefited? Not me.

18 thoughts on “How To Explain What’s Going On In Connecticut To Your Friends”

  1. Thanks Geoff for posting this. I didn’t have power for 6 days after hurricane Irene and that was a cakewalk because we were warm. Too bad R. Blumenthal isn’t AG anymore.

  2. I live in Jewett City, and I am powered by Jewett City Dept of Public Utilities. During the last snowstorm, we suffered NO power outages, and during Irene,we were only out for about 20 hours. I was even told that we were OKAY, but were taken down so CLP could work, then we were brought back up. The whole town of JC had thier power back by the end of Monday, around 10pm. I’m thankful to live in a small town that is serviced by our own utility company. However, most folks that live in Griswold, are NOT serviced by JCE, but by CLP. I had my power back by the end of Monday, while my friends and neighbors went 8 days with nothing. Thats not acceptable.

  3. Calm down Geoff! It’ll all be back soon. My dad works for CL&P (he manages the trucks in our area) and he says that 2 of the 3 huge lines that bring power into northern Connecticut are down. Theres not a lot they can do very quickly to fix this situation because the lines are major… But soon, it will be back.

  4. We were out for a week after Irene, but at least it wasn’t cold!! My heart goes out to all those STILL without power. There must be measures they could take in the future to avoid this….like maybe multiple companies offering electricity. I hope our bills don’t go up to make up for their loss of revenue due to their poor planning.

  5. I had read that same article last night and thought – yep that pretty much sums it up.
    We got our power back last night after losing it early on Saturday. We have now had 11 days of no power in 2 months. That’s insanity. And then I read today that CL&P is actually considering raising rates to pay for this? We already pay the highest rates in the country.
    What has gone wrong with our state? For such a small state we sure do have a lot of things that we pay the ‘highest rate in the nation’ for.

  6. Very well said, Geoff. I live in Newtown and as of noon, CL&P announced that we will not have power back until Wednesday… 11 days after the storm. As I write this, 6281 customers are out, up from 5500 this morning, because they had to turn people back off when they realized the damage was “worse than originally anticipated…”

    Trying to stay positive and keep my sanity, but it was like a punch in the stomach when I read the updates…

  7. Interestingly, the estimates on CL-p web site has no town getting power back later than Sunday at midnight. But as Jen said, they’ve been told Wednesday. Someone else I know was told the 13th! Something is wrong here.

    I don’t fault the crews, I believe they are doing the best they can with what they have. However, it remains to be seen/explained why so many LARGE lines had trees in the vicinity that could take them down

  8. What should have been done and still should be done is call in the National Guard to help out. Hold property owners responsible for clearing trees that have grown next to power lines. The solution seems simple as that. Quit blaming their budgets. The homeowner should be held responsible to clear their own trees NOT the utility companies. As far as blaming the linemen I do not think it is appropriate because they are only as good as their leader. Fire the a-hole. I wonder how many days Gov. Malloy or the head of C.L.& P. were in the cold without heat or hot water??? I am a disabled 45 year old and I was without power for 5 days. I have to say it was the most difficult time I can ever remember going thru. The customer service at C.L.& P. sucks! They may as well read from a script. Telling someone they are “working on the problem” somehow doesnt seem enough. Finally they direct you to goto a shelter. Well as a pet owner I found out that it was not an option for me because I had a dog ………. same goes for getting any sort of hotel.

  9. We got power here in Woodbury last night, I was at my breaking
    point though. We do have a generator and it is for the basics
    but I am glad we made the investment years ago for it. I could
    not go to a hotel for 6 days leave my dogs and my house (unless it was a vacation) this was not vacation. We lost a week of work
    and now I have triple amount of laundry, work for our business
    and all the other stuff. I just looked at the map and 28 percent
    is still out here in Woodbury. Hey for everyone out there if you
    have cable and internet and were down if you call they will give
    you a credit heard this on WPLR and I called and they gave me a credit for Irene also so I got $80.00 for both storms that will
    pay for one of my meals out and gas for my generator. We had
    they electric guys from South Carolina and they did a great job
    but all the trees are just in the road , I hope someone from the
    town comes and clears this up because they are in the road.

  10. Responding to Scott: I also lost power and even though it was a far drive I packed up my two cats and myself and went to the Red Roof Inn in Milford, THEY ALLOW PETS and the rates are inexpensive. We were there for 4 days so there are other options instead of staying home and freezing because you have pets.

  11. thank you Jane …. I wish I knew that earlier. Its water under the bridge at this point but I will be searching for a motel.hotel that does take animals for the future should this happen again.

  12. Kinda makes me wonder if the “big shot” top execs got raises this last quarter because they did such a”good job” raising revenues?

  13. Think I have a solution if this ever happens again.Shut off the power to all top executives,they get their power back on when the state is 100%.See how fast they work when they have to endure the way residents are living.

  14. Since CL&P/NU is a defacto monopoly whose land and hydro assets are publicly owned, we need to re-take control and make them into a true public utility. Why are CT residents OK with paying the highest electrical rates in North America? Let’s eliminate the profiteering and growth-through-acquisitions machine and deprivatize NU.

    Now, NU is trying to rob the taxpayers by selling back to us lands that were seized by eminent domain for the public good (and subsequently transferred to NU corporate by our legislators … look at Vaughn’s Neck on Candlewood ($750 million price tag), etc. etc. Time to treat these men as the thieves and robbers that they are…

    And while we’re at it, let’s start dwelling on the men who made this all happen … those politicians that pushed this and supported it.

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