Utility companies prepare for Hurricane SandyPosted: Updated:
In preparation of Hurricane Sandy affecting Connecticut, officials at utility companies throughout the state are preparing the storm.
Connecticut Light & Power opened its emergency operations center Thursday afternoon. All crews are lined up and on stand-bye for any impacts from Hurricane Sandy.
The opening of the emergency operations center is part of CL&P's plan in preparation for possible damage caused by the storm. CL&P officials will remain in contact with town, state and emergency management officials and monitor the weather forecasts during the next few days.
"The past year has been all about improving storm response, and we stand ready to respond as quickly and safely as possible," said Bill Quinlan, CL&P Senior Vice President of Emergency Preparedness. "While we hope for the best, we all need to prepare for the worst."
After thousands were left in the dark waiting for repair crews to restore phone and power lines following Winter Storm Alfred, officials at CL&P said this time, they are ahead of the game.
"We are getting our resources ready, making sure our people are ready, getting everything in order," said CL&P Spokesman Mitch Gross.
On New Britain Avenue in Farmington, CL&P crews replaced power lines with newer, thicker ones as well as putting in new telephone polls. Since last October, CL&P crews have also been cut down several trees and spent millions upgrading their system.
The United Illuminating Company has been holding meetings and contacted additional crews, as well as talking with municipal officials about UI's plan and updating them on its status.
"While it's still too early to know precisely if and when the storm could reach our area, we have put plans in place so we are prepared and our staff has been alerted, along with contractor support," said Joseph Thomas, vice president, Electric Systems Operations and Client Fulfillment.
ATT&T said they have made a number of improvements including "installing more back up and permanent generators at critical cell sites," according to a statement from the company.
The companies are advising customers to take extra precautions as the storm nears the East Coast.
"Our emergency personnel already met this morning," said Thomas Cooke, director of administrative services for Simsbury. "We have been doing our equipment checks and our personnel checks to make sure everything is lined up for the worst."
CL&P is advising customers to assemble a storm kit and make arrangements for their family. The kit should include the following:
- Flashlights with spare batteries
- A battery-operated radio or TV
- First-aid kit and medications
- Canned, freeze-dried or dehydrated foods
- A manual can opener
- Bottled water
- Baby or pet supplies (if needed)
- Important phone numbers
UI is also advising customers to fully charge their cell phones.
Also, if residents own generators, they are told to keep them outside and follow the safety instructions.
For more information about UI or to report outages, call 1-800-7-CALL-UI (1-800-722-5584).
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