As CL&P seeks to improve on its much-criticized performance after Tropical Storm Irene and last October's devastating snowstorm, the utility is bringing in more outside linemen to help in the restoration process than it did in those prior events.
Utility vice president Willliam Quinlan said at a briefing on Friday morning that 1,500 linemen had already been added to CL&Ps contingent of 400. By Saturday, he said, there should be about 2,100 additional linemen working to restore power to the many thousands that remain without it.
With central and northern Connecticut substantially restored, resources are now being concentrated in the Southwest and Southeast corner of the state, he said, particularly the Southwest, where "thousands upon thousands of trees are down."
Quinlan said he was on a conference call with President Barack Obama on Thursday and that the president identified New York, New Jersey, West Virginia and Connecticut as the states hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy.
Quinlan also said CL&P's parents company, Northeast Utilities, was helping to provide management teams and linemen from New Hampshire and Massachusetts. CL&P has also called on 100 retirees to help with the restoration. The projection of getting power restored to 98 percent of customers is still "Monday or Tuesday."
"I do want to reiterate something I've been saying consistently," he said. "These are our best estimates. They are not guarantees. ... But we're doing everything to sustain the momentum we have built so far."