Connecticut Light & Power expects to have roughly 5,000 additional personnel on hand to respond to power outage needs when Hurricane Sandy hits this week, a company official said this weekend.
“Our Emergency Operations Center in Berlin is now active,” CL&P Senior Vice President Bill Quinlan told reporters during a press conference on Saturday. “We are conducting very broad outreach across the country for linemen, patrol resources, tree crews and for other resources necessary.”
These are just a few of the latest updates that CL&P has issued since the storm started to become a real threat to the state and the region.
The utility company, which took a lot of criticism for its responses to last year’s two storms, has been showing that it’s prepared and taking precautionary measures before Hurricane Sandy makes landfall.
This time around, Quinlan said the company has made a broad campaign, by working in cooperation with key state agencies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross.
“All with a goal with what we refer to as a community response to this event,” this may truly be a natural disaster,” Quinlan said. “And our view is the best way for Connecticut to get through it is to deliver an integrated response with a lot of teamwork.”
Initially, CL&P said it requested 2,000 extra crews from across the country, in addition to its own staff of 340 crews. Ultimately, however, Quinlan said the company expects to have the additional, 5,000 personnel on hand. The company has taken such measures as flying linemen into Connecticut from as far away as Seattle.
“With respect to those crews, many of them are already in the grounds, trucks are basically rolling in through Connecticut tomorrow,” he said. “Some crews are flying in from the west coast.”
He mentioned that the company will also look to some of the northern New England crews for assistance and has already requested Canadian crews.
At one point, a reporter asked Quinlan what assurances he was giving Connecticut that this would all “ring true,” given CL&P’s response from last year’s storm.
“We have been hard at work since last fall's events to improve several critical areas,” he said.
Communication and technology investment were two points Quinlan made, as well as the pro-active approach CL&P is taking as Sandy moves north.
"We are, what is referred to as, 'leaning in to the storm,' which basically means to bring your resources into the state early and to deploy them into the field prior to the storm making impact,” Quinlan said.