‘IT’S ON THEIR HEADS’
Local Officials Voicing Outrage Malloy: Review Utilities’ Response Guard Helps In Hard-Hit Areas Did CL&P’s Parent Violate U.S. Law?
By CHRISTOPHER KEATING and DANIELA ALTIMARI | firstname.lastname@example.org
HARTFORD — As mayors and first selectmen were seething Friday on the seventh night without power for many households in their towns, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ordered an independent review of the response by state electric companies to the pre-Halloween snowstorm that plunged much of the state into darkness.
Malloy, town leaders and citizens throughout the state continued complaining that Connecticut Light & Power Co. has not been moving fast enough as 282,000 customers were still without power Friday night.
Malloy announced that a consulting firm led by James Lee Witt, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will conduct a complete review of the response by CL&P and the United Illuminating Co. in the aftermath of the storm. The firm, Witt Associates, will perform the work for free, and Malloy arranged the review after a conversation with a fellow Democratic governor, Martin O’Malley of Maryland. Witt’s firm, which specializes in crisis management, has pledged to finish the review by Dec. 1.
“As soon as everyone’s lights are back on, we need to have a very timely, thorough review of the power companies’ performances, to identify what went wrong, why it went wrong, and most importantly, identify solutions for the short term before the next winter storm impacts Connecticut,” Malloy said.
Local officials on Friday said that CL&P would be held responsible if anyone dies because emergency crews couldn’t reach them in areas where power lines are still down and electricity is still out.
“It’s on their heads,’’ said South Windsor Fire Chief Philip Crombie Jr.
From Simsbury to Union, local officials complained loudly that utility crews were slow in responding as the National Guard was called in to help crews with major tree damage in the hard-hit Farmington Valley.