Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a press conference early Sunday afternoon that Connecticut Light & Power, the state’s largest electrical provider, has exceeded 800,000 reported outages, including more than 80,000 since 7 a.m., and customers should be prepared for a long-term effort to resolve issues.
“People are most concerned about the interaction with utilities and to that there may be some amount of restoration that takes place today, but right now those companies are mainly focused on safety,” Malloy said during the conference. “In respect to CL&P customers, they need to be aware that this is going to be a long-term problem and we are still seeing customers going off the grid.”
A press conference is currently scheduled for 6 p.m., at which point representatives of CL&P and United Illuminating will address a timeline for restoration efforts.
Officials with United Illuminating have said that their customers could see power restored by Monday night and that once work was complete, they would offer their line crews to CL&P to assist in their efforts. CL&P has already contacted other regional utility companies, according to a press release from CL&P spokesman Mitch Gross.
Workers with the two utility companies are already on roads, according to releases from each company, but all efforts are focused on addressing safety issues and helping clear the roads so restoration can be done. Malloy said the number of roads closed in area towns shows the challenges that utility workers are facing as the attempt to restore power to much of the state.
The damage to area towns has well exceeded that of Tropical Storm Irene, Malloy said, with many throughout the Greater Hartford area reporting an excess of road closures.
“New Britain has reported 150 road closures and some other town leaders I’ve talked with have reported more than 200 in their communities. It’s indicative of how difficult it is to move place to place in the state right now,” Malloy said.
Malloy has filed a declaration of emergency in Connecticut with President Barack Obama, requesting FEMA assistance for movement of consumable goods such as food and gasoline as many residents deal with the loss of electricity.
While municipal governments may be able to anticipate receiving some recovery funds, he said local residents are not likely to be eligible with this storm.
Across the state, residents should also be anticipating problems with cell and phone signals as equipment has been damaged by the extreme weather conditions. AT&T has reported 16 cell areas are experiencing problems and more than 150 cell towers are down as a result of storm damage.
In addition, Malloy said “one cable company” is reporting that 90 percent of their customers are without service at this time.
“Cell coverage will degrade throughout the day,” Malloy said. “As opposed to the damage experienced in Irene, there is extensive line damage to systems that was caused by the conditions of this storm. Phone and cable companies are working on that issue, but it is a more difficult situation than experienced during Irene.”
In terms of Halloween celebrations, Malloy said the state would not dictate what local towns decide to do but said local officials should take into consideration their conditions and make a decision that is right for the community.
With CL&P reporting 805,706 outages as of 12:45 p.m., Malloy said that electrical restoration would remain the top priority.
CL&P customers can also monitor their town's outages online at http://www.cl-p.com/outage/mobile.aspx or by texting "Outage" and their zip code to 24612.
“We will continue to monitor the situation,” Malloy said. “There are over 32 shelters open across the state and we’ve seen record use of the 211 hotline. If you are safe, we are still asking residents to stay off the roads so we can begin to clean-up.”