This was the scene at tonight’s forum at Norwalk City Hall on Connecticut Light & Power’s handling of the October 29 nor’easter and August’s Tropical Storm Irene.
Sen. Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, who organized the event admitted he was surprised at the turnout given the outrage earlier this month over the widespread and lengthy power outages.
It did provide the opportunity for a few clearly very frustrated folks to vent, including one city resident who said he was without power for seven days. But Duff expected more people to attend given the interest expressed on his Facebook page.
Maybe now that all the juice has been returned people are focused on the holiday season and would rather spend a free evening celebrating, shopping or relaxing, rather than berating utility executives.
Or maybe a management shakeup within CL&P, lower electric rates and an increase in the fund the company created to compensate customers for damages during the nor’easter have caused folks to blow out the torches and hang the pitch forks back in their sheds.
Whatever the reason for the poor attendance, it turned out to be a great evening for William Quinlan, CL&P’s new vice president of emergency preparedness, to make his first official public appearance. Quinlan was promoted to the newly created position last week as part of that aforementioned management shakeup.
While making it crystal clear the utility needs to improve its performance during future storms, Quinlan also defended his bosses. He disputed allegations the utility had trouble hiring out-of-state linemen to help because of unpaid bills from Irene. He stood by the company’s current roster of around 200 in-house crews for day-to-day operations. He reiterated CL&P’s position that it was better prepared for Irene because that storm was more predictable than the nor’easter. He said the utility had been warning customers the areas of the state most impacted by the snow could be without electricity for seven to ten days. And he said in fact if you look at industry standards, CL&P did a pretty good job with the restoration.