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CL&P says it’s more prepared for Sandy than it was for Irene

CL&P’s Incident Command staff for all planning, operations and logistics activities has implemented its Emergency Response Plan, with the foremost commitment to safety, and is ready for Hurricane Sandy, according to briefing sheet sent out by the utility Sunday night.

Here’s a look at some of the things the utility is doing to prepare for the event, based on what the utility has told town officials and the media:

• CL&P officials say the utility is “fully prepared for a major restoration event and ready to respond. We have transitioned from preparedness to execution. We are stressing with customers that there is no way to prevent widespread outages in the face of a devastating storm. CL&P’s service territory will be significantly impacted by Hurricane Sandy and we are urging customers to be prepared along with us.”

• Of the 2,000 outside line workers requested, 1,060 will be available to CL&P Sunday evening. “We have 3.5 times more external line workers now than we had prior to Tropical Storm Irene,” according to CL&P. “Many crews are still en route to Connecticut, and some crews are coming from as far away as Washington State, Florida and Texas. Our approach is ensuring we will have ‘boots on the ground’ ready to go when it is safe to start working.”

• The utility says its first priorities will be responding to life-threatening 911 calls, and clearing roads in close coordination with the state and towns, while simultaneously doing damage assessment; then we will be able to start restoring power.

• “We have done extensive customer outreach and are advising customers about the storm and our preparedness, encouraging everyone to prepare and to stay away from any downed wires during and after the storm; to safely operate generators; and to report any outages at 800-286-2000 or online at cl-p.com.”

Staffing/Resource planning

• Approximately 400 CL&P line workers and 300 tree-trimming workers are ready to respond.

• They are actively seeking 2,000 out-of-state contractor line workers and 700 tree contractors; crew “onboarding” (orientation and safety meetings) was under way today.

• CL&P has 400 damage assessors, 750 wires-down staff and 500 service crew workers ready to respond from locations throughout Connecticut.

Logistics:

• All 13 CL&P Area Work Centers across the state are fully activated and operating around the clock.

• The utility has taken action to protect substations in Stamford and Branford to reduce the risk of flooding, using sandbags to limit water penetration and installing high-capacity pumps.

• After the storm passes, staging locations will be set up for outside crews (Waterford Speedbowl, Day Hill Road in Windsor, Aetna in Middletown, Fairfield Hills in Newtown, Timex facility in Middlebury).

 Communications

• Town liaisons have reached out to all towns today to coordinate on local priorities in advance of the storm.

• A media event took place from 4-6 p.m. today as crews from the Jacksonville, Florida, area arrived at CL&P’s Hartford Area Work Center; CL&P President Bill Herdegen was featured in media interviews.  Additional media interviews are being lined up for Monday morning.

• Bill Quinlan, Sr. VP of Emergency Preparedness, participated in the governor’s briefings at 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.

• Customer Care’s automated IVR message informs customers of the impending weather and to make preparations for a multi-day outage, and that CL&P stands ready to address any damage as safely and quickly as possible.  Post-landfall, another email will go to CL&P customers.

• The CL&P media hotline has been activated.

Operations

• An ongoing schedule of crew requests has been established for removing electrical hazards from roads. Towns with a command post or open EOC may request a line crew for midnight, if they make the request through their town liaison by 2 p.m. daily; they may also request a line and tree crew at the beginning of the day shift (following the crew safety briefing), if they make the request by 8 p.m. daily.  Thirty towns have requested a lineworker and a line truck for tonight.  Crews are pre-staged in the towns, but may move to another town, if directed, to handle an emergency.

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