Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) is giving $500,000 to the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection’s Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS) to improve Connecticut’s emergency preparedness. The funds will enable the department to prepare for accreditation under the national-level Emergency Management Accreditation Program, strengthen state emergency response plans, and assist in instituting an ongoing emergency preparedness exercise program.
“CL&P, our parent company Northeast Utilities, and the department all have a common goal to make sure all of Connecticut is ready for an emergency,” said Bill Quinlan, CL&P senior vice president of emergency preparedness. “This funding will help make this goal a reality.”
The announcement came on the final day of a four-day statewide emergency preparedness exercise designed to simulate a Category 3 hurricane. Coordinated by DEMHS, the exercise focused on communications between state and local governments and the state’s utilities in the event of an emergency or natural disaster.
Leading up to the exercise, CL&P had been hard at work strengthening many facets of its emergency preparedness and responsiveness. “Our objective is to become a recognized industry leader and trusted partner in emergency preparedness and response,” said Mr. Quinlan. “That means preparing for and responding to emergencies in a manner that meets or exceeds the expectations of our customers.”
Among the many steps CL&P has taken to significantly improve emergency preparedness, it says, are:
• Appointment of a new senior vice president of emergency preparedness.
• Creation of an Infrastructure Hardening organization to improve electric system resiliency and develop initiatives to reduce system vulnerability to outages.
• Pursuing enhanced weather forecasting capabilities and working with the University of Connecticut on software that will predict electric system damage.
• Revising the company Emergency Plan and procedures to cover significantly larger events
• Creating statewide partnerships with municipalities, state agencies and other utilities to improve regional coordination.
• Strengthening CL&P’s town liaison program.
• Developing tools to produce more useful electric distribution system and restoration information for municipalities and customers.
• Significantly enhancing CL&P’s tree trimming program; spending $53.5 million in 2012, an increase of approximately $27 million over 2011.
“With 1.2 million customers in 149 cities and towns, CL&P is improving the environments you live in, by offering programs in energy conservation, economic development and environmental stewardship,” its release said.