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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT
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Greenwich, State Focused On Trees Year After Irene

GREENWICH, Conn. – Thousands of households across Greenwich and Fairfield County were left without power last year by Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm. Government agencies and utility companies have spent the past year focusing on how to reduce outages if another big storm hits.

The majority of outages during the two storms was caused by downed trees , said Mitch Gross, spokesman for Connecticut Light and Power. As a result, the utility that provides power to most of the state has spent about $100 million this year trimming trees.

“We continue to be diligent about pruning trees as needed," Gross said.

More than 809,000 customers lost power after the October storm, and Irene knocked out power to more than 700,000. Reports found that the worst-case scenario CL&P had planned for was 100,000 outages.

Connecticut and its utility companies have also established “make-safe crews” that will go in before restoration crews to make sure that roads are cleared of trees and live wires, said Scott DeVico, of the state's Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

These crews should help speed up power restoration in areas hit by storms, he added.

Communication has been another priority for CL&P, which has established liaisons with cities and town to share tools and information more quickly.

“A lot of hard work has gone into making sure that we’re prepared to respond to large-scale emergencies,” said Gross "We’ve put our system to the test many times in the past year, and I’m proud to say we’ve been able to demonstrate improved response.”

More than 165 municipalities across Connecticut took part in a four-day statewide emergency preparedness drill at the end of July. “Our initial results show that some of the new plans and communications procedures have been implemented successfully," DeVico said.

Gross and DeVico both said that emergency preparedness is an ongoing process.

“We don’t start preparing once the storm hits,” DeVico said. “We’re preparing all year round.”

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