Connecticut Light & Power has promised to improve service reliability after more than 5,000 Greenwich customers lost power last week because of lightning and underground circuit failures.
The outages cut power to 5,643 Greenwich customers until 2:30 a.m. Saturday. First Selectman Peter Tesei said that of those customers, 140 lodged complaints with the town. Overall, the sentiment was, Why did it happen? and Why did it take so long to get back up and running? said Tesei.
Last Wednesday, one of the Cos Cob substation circuits was lost after a lightning strike. On Thursday, two other underground circuits in the substation failed. To maintain the systems integrity, utility representatives said power was cut to 2,300 customers in North Greenwich.
Later that night, another lightning strike interrupted two circuits at the same time. Before both repairs could be completed, additional circuits failed because of heavy demand of air-conditioning systems throughout Greenwich during the heat wave.
I requested [CL&P] provide me with some assurance that they were doing everything humanly possible to reduce the likelihood of future incidents, but clearly understanding that acts of God are just that, said Tesei. We needed to know what they were going to do to make sure were not going to experience this throughout the summer.
Currently, the utility is completing townwide inspections of all substation equipment and circuits to uncover potential vulnerabilities in the system. It will report findings to the town and accelerate nine reliability projects undertaken before the outages last week.
The utility plans to dedicate a single project manager, Brad Shaw, to oversee maintenance activities and the nine projects. The projects include a plan to separate two overhead circuits; a larger project to provide a new, independent source of power to the North Greenwich Substation (to be completed by the end of the year); and studies for a new bulk power substation in Greenwich.
CL&P Vice President of Energy Delivery Services Kenneth Bowes said the utility also plans to allocate $1 million for tree trimming in Greenwich.
How were you affected by the power outages last week?
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