Seven representatives from CL&P held a closed-door meeting with the West Hartford Emergency Operations team late Friday afternoon to present the latest action plan for restoring power to West Hartford. As of Friday afternoon, approximately three-quarters of the town was still in the dark.
Mayor Scott Slifka and Town Manager Ron Van Winkle had heated exchanges with CL&P representative Watson Collins during the morning briefing, and the later meeting was CL&P's response to the town's demands for action and information.
"We’re starting to get the information that we’ve been demanding all week. Though we remain incredibly cautious about the estimates, this was without a doubt the most positive interaction we’ve had to date," Slifka said Friday afternoon.
According to Slifka, CL&P committed to the following in response to West Hartford's demands:
- 99 percent of residents back on line by midnight Sunday
- 100 percent of homes restored by midnight Wednesday (These are homes with wires pulled out.)
- 30 line and 15 tree crews are coming in on Saturday. That’s a total of 45, which is two-and-a-half times what we had today.
- 100 percent of schools online by midnight Saturday.
- A direct communications contact who will be available in real time.
- Frequent updates of the outage map, on a street-by-street basis, especially provided at times we can share them with residents who are still at the shelter. Hopefully, a few will be able to go home tonight as a result.
Following the meeting, Town Manager Ron Van Winkle said, “Their estimate is that most people will have power back by the end of the weekend, but this is just an estimate.”
Slifka agreed. “This is what they have told us. They are sticking with the deadlines they have set today. We all hope they’re right. The impact will be looked at on a day-by day basis, and it’s fluid. If indeed they have schools online by midnight Saturday, we may be able to have schools open Tuesday. If they have made significant progress, we may be able to ramp down shelter operations sooner than planned."
“CL&P offered apologies and a plan,” said Assistant Superintendent of Schools for Administration Tom Moore. “They did not offer excuses.”
Slifka said, “I won’t be satisfied until they deliver on the plan. As of right now, we’re still at 75 percent of residents out. I’m far from satisfied but there’s a plan. Whether or not they deliver remains to be seen, but there wasn’t a plan all week or even this morning. Our incredulity has not been diminished, and that’s why we remain skeptical.”
Slifka said that any discussions of a lawsuit are for another day. “We need to see results. This meeting was about getting results. Obviously there is going to be a day after, but right now we need to get the power back on.”
on Monday, even if the buildings have had power restored as promised. For schools to re-open, there are many more variables including safety of the streets, sidewalks, and grounds for students and staff.