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Connecticut utility company unprepared for storm, report says

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 3:11 PM EST, Fri December 2, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • More than two-thirds of Connecticut Light & Power customers lost power
  • "This is the highest number in CL&P's history," the report notes
  • The snowstorm killed 22 people around the eastern United States

(CNN) -- Connecticut's primary utility company was largely unprepared for an October snowstorm that left more than a million residents in the dark, according to a new report.

"The worst-case scenario in the company's emergency response plan considered outages over 100,000 customers, or less than 10 percent of their total customer base," noted the report, produced by the consulting firm Witt Associates and released Thursday

It said Connecticut Light & Power lost more than two-thirds of it customers during the storm, which also knocked out power for thousands of residents in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The state's north central regions were hardest hit by the storm, reporting some 25,000 "trouble spots," defined as locations where there was transmission damage that required a repair crew.

"This is the highest number in CL&P's history," the report noted.

It also listed 27 recommendations meant boost response and recovery times, including improving emergency communications and training of personnel.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said he told Charles Shivery, the CEO of CL&P's parent company, Northeast Utilities, that the handling of the situation was "unacceptable," and he demanded changes to how "the operation is managed."

Malloy said that the consulting group's goal was to find "tangible short-term solutions to fix what is broken in terms of how power is restored to those who lose it when we have major outages."

The snowstorm killed 22 people around the eastern United States. Eight of those were reported to have died in Connecticut, half of them from carbon monoxide poisoning.

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