Prior to Hurricane Irene, plans were made in expectation of mass power outages. Connecticut Light and Power made plans to maximize staffing and contracted for additional out of town support. For the local area, a great deal of that support came from Canada.
Once the storm hit, plans were enacted to be on schedule and provide multiple crews to the shoreline, including Branford. However, the storm continued on, and issues in Canada forced many of the back up technicians to return north, leaving Branford with minimal support.
Early on, it was clear the delay for power would be extensive.
Making matters worse, restoring power is a 3-step process. First, the wires need to be made safe, essentially turning off the power. Once this is done, trees that have fallen on wires can be removed. There are many in town with the ability to remove trees, including Public works. But they cannot do this work until technicians make sure there are no live wires.
With no support from the additional technicians, Branford has seen just I or 2 crews from CL&P for the last 3 days. While they are working around the clock, in 16 hour shifts, and by all accounts are moving swiftly, it is simply not enough to get Branford back on line in a timely manner.
Currently, crews are being rushed in, but are not here yet. Some of the crews are reportedly from as far away as Washington State.
As of 12:30, there were approximately 7 major areas that need to have trees removed before power can be restored. Once these areas are cleared, we may see power back on quickly.
These areas are: Flat Rock Road, Stony Creek Raod near Rte. 137, Block Island Road, Pine Orchard Raod near Knollwoods, Jefferson Road, Hosley Ave, and Featherbed Road by Oakgate.
Unfortunately, actually seeing the few CL&P crews working in Branford is difficult, but they are there. Far more were planned. With the entire town going black, Branford has the second highest amount of residents without power in the state, behind Stamford.
For the time being, Branford is making plans tohelp residents regain normalcy. Overnight accomodations are being shut down unless absolutely necessary. The primary shelter, Mary T.Murphy School, is closing, and its' generator is being moved to the Community Center, which will allow residents to use the showers and charge cell phones as needed.
Gas stations along the Post Road on the west side of town are reopening, and many accept cash and credit cards. The Parthenon Diner has reopened using a generator, with a limited menu. The Walgreens near the movie theater is open, as its its pharmacy for medical needs.