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Greenwich Candidate Outlines Storm Prevention Plan

GREENWICH, Conn. – As the town cleans up after a freak snowstorm, Democratic first selectman candidate John Blankley has developed a four-point action plan to deal with future storms.

Blankley was in Old Greenwich on Sunday with former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz to survey the damage and talk to residents. He suggests getting “a whole lot tougher” with Connecticut Light & Power.

“They have one of the highest return on equity, at 10 percent of utilities, thanks to their rate structure and yet have not invested in new equipment and have cut back on their workforce,” according to the action plan. More than 3,700 Greenwich residents were still without power Monday afternoon.

The town needs to open discussions with the power company and regulators to develop a long-term plan to bury power lines, he said. “It will start with arterial roads and hotspots. Other communities have started this. We should begin the process of looking into this issue,” Blankley said in a statement Sunday.

The town must improve communications, he said. “The website says crews are working diligently, and I’m sure they are. This is not a criticism of them. But how many crews do we have? How many crews does CL&P have?” Blankley said. He pointed out the town’s “robocall” said power would be restored as soon as possible but made no estimate. The town’s emergency call number says, “No emergency messages at this time,” Blankley said. The emergency call number was not in service Monday afternoon.

“It would help to know what streets are blocked because of trees or downed power lines,” he said. As of Monday night, the town’s website had last been updated Sunday night. But it does include a link to statements that list the town streets that are blocked by downed trees and wires. As of Monday, all streets in Greenwich had been opened or partially opened to traffic.

In his last point, Blankley says the town needs to look into how tree pruning is handled and “be more proactive" about it. He said, “We are very reactive when it comes to preparing for storms as seen in this time and also in March 2010 and for Hurricane Irene.”

Incumbent candidate for First Selectman Peter Tesei could not be reached for comment.

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