Thousands remain in the dark following Wednesday night's storms - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Thousands remain in the dark following Wednesday night's storms

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(Eversource photo) (Eversource photo)
(Eversource photo) (Eversource photo)
(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)

Thousands of power customers remained without power on Friday, more than a day after powerful thunderstorms moved through the state.

Eversource said that at its height, more than 89,000 customers were without electricity.

As of 12:30 p.m. on Friday, that number was a little more than 6,600.

"We're putting all of our resources on the restoration," said Frank Poirot, Eversource spokesman. 

Eversource said it has 700 crews from Massachusetts, New York and New Hampshire helping out as well as contractors from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Canada.

They gathered at a Lowe's Home Improvement Center in Killingly Friday morning before heading out to fix the rest of the outages. Eversource set up a command post with all of the gear its crews needs.

“While we’ve made great progress getting power back on for our customers, we remain focused on those still affected,” said Peter Clarke, senior vice president of emergency preparedness at Eversource.  “We’ve redirected additional crews to areas that still have significant damage, including Fairfield County and the ‘Quiet Corner,’ and continue working non-stop. Gov. Malloy’s limited emergency declaration greatly helped us in facilitating the needed steps to maximize all available crews to assist in the restoration effort.”

So far, it restored power to more than 123,000 customers. They've replaced 100 broken poles and 30,000 feet of overhead lines as well as removed more than 70 large trees.

"We came down with 25 crews [Thursday] morning," said Dean Desautels, manager of emergency preparedness, Eversource New Hampshire. "We had a lot of tree damage, not whole trees, but a lot of limbs. So it’s really getting those limbs removed and restoring infrastructure." 

Desautels, one of the hundreds of out-of-state workers who drove down to help, said Eversource has similar staging areas around the state.

"We have an operation like this down in Waterford," he said. "Really the objective is to get our resources as close to the damage as possible."

Thursday, Eversource gave an estimate that most customers would have power back before 11:30 p.m. on Friday.

"I think we're on track for [Friday night], to get those isolated customers who are down at the end of one-way streets or at the end of long rural roads," Poirot said. "But the vast majority of our customers will be up and running [Friday]."

Eversource said it fielded more than 50,000 calls for service since the storm struck. Crews have been working since Wednesday night.

High winds and heavy rain combined the knock down numerous trees, many of which took down power lines with them.

"The winds were really hurricane-force winds," Poirot said. "They were in the 75 mph range. That's sustained winds for hurricanes and they brought down trees. It was that simple."

To further complicate matters for crews, temperatures plummeted from 60 degrees on Thursday morning to 30 degrees on Friday morning.

"It's very frustrating," said Anthony Little of Bloomfield. "[The] next time I purchase a house, I know to get me a generator."

"We can't do anything," said Josephine Thompson, also of Bloomfield. "[We] just sit here in the house in the dark. We don't have a generator. Nothing. So I'm not even sure if we'll be staying here tonight."

"Doing mutual aid is a lot like Christmas, it’s better to give than to receive," Desautels said. "So it’s good to you know travel and assist the customers here in Connecticut.”

While crews aimed to complete most of the repairs by Friday night, they said some customers may not see power until Saturday.

To check Eversource's progress or report an outage, check its outage map here.

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