CL&P requests thousands of extra workers as Sandy approaches - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CL&P requests thousands of extra workers as Sandy approaches

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© Tree trimming near power line in Wethersfield. © Tree trimming near power line in Wethersfield.
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Connecticut Light & Power officials said the utility company has requested thousands of extra workers to assist with power restoration as Hurricane Sandy inches closer to the East Coast.

CL&P officials said 2,000 linemen and more than 700 tree workers have been requested from utility companies from the Midwest, which is far from where Sandy could have a major impact.

This request comes after a firestorm of criticism when hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents lost power, many for more than a week, after Tropical Storm Irene last August and Winter Storm Alfred last October.

Since the storm, tree trimmers have been working year round to clear branches from power lines. The company has doubled its tree trimming budget this year.

"Trees are the number one cause of outages by far, and the idea is, trim it away, trim away the possibilities," said CL&P spokesman Mitch Gross.

New legislation requires state utility regulators to establish industry standards for acceptable performance by electric and gas companies in emergencies.

During the storm, tree crews and line workers will be staged at four areas throughout the state to be ready to respond.

There are things that CL&P said are out of their control. For example, all the recent rain has left the ground soft, which could make it easier for a tree to topple.

Following the storm, regulators will review damage and outage estimates and restoration work. They also may establish a program to reimburse residential customers for the loss of food and medications caused by outages longer than 48 hours.

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