Shelton awakes to nearly full power Tuesday

Photo of Brian Gioiele
Shelton firefighters rescued a family of four from the second floor of their house after a large tree crashed through the roof.

Shelton firefighters rescued a family of four from the second floor of their house after a large tree crashed through the roof.

Contributed photo

The vast majority of residents awoke this morning with power — eight days after Tropical Storm Isaisis ravaged the state with high winds and rain.

The city Emergency Management Director Michael Maglione said that all roads are now open, and United Illuminating has restored power to more than 99 percent of its customers, with only 36 households still in the dark.

From 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 4 through 5 a.m. the next day, Fire Marshal James Tortora said fire crews from Echo Hose Co. #1, Huntington Co. #3, Pine Rock Co. #4 and the White Hills Co. #5 responded to more than 150 calls for service.

After the storm blew through the afternoon of Aug. 4, Maglione said more than 12,000 residents and businesses were without power and more than 70 roads were blocked by trees, fallen wires and debris.

By Friday, Maglione said power had been restored to more than 7,200 customers. Only 4 percent were still in the dark Sunday afternoon.

“In the city of Shelton, UI did an outstanding job,” said Maglione.

Shelton Deputy Fire Chief Paul Wilson said, over the past few days, fire crews have responded to more than 160 storm-related emergency calls. Wilson said these calls range from trees through homes, carbon monoxide emergencies, wires down, transformer fires, fire alarms and gas leaks.

UI, as well as Eversource, which still had some 88,000 without power statewide Monday morning, have faced criticism from residents and lawmakers alike for being unprepared for the tropical storm. Many residents and businesses were without power for days in the aftermath.

“It’s frustrating when you don’t see much progress, but it’s just as frustrating when there’s no communication,” said state Rep. Jason Perillo, R-113.

Gov. Ned Lamont has already called on the Public Utility Regulation Authority to investigate the power companies’ response and preparedness, and some lawmakers have called for the top executive at Eversource to resign in the midst of the restoration efforts.

“During Sandy, I received frequent, detailed restoration updates and I was able to pass that info along to residents,” said Perillo. “This time around, that info just wasn’t made available. There were some families, though, who experiences serious damage and lost a lot more than power and internet. My heart really goes out to them.”

“I never lost power as others have so I don’t feel their pain. I hope everyone made it through unscathed,” said state Rep. Ben McGorty (R-122). “Throughout this crisis I was in communications with public safety directors from the areas I represent and they did a great job prioritizing outages; I just can’t understand why United Illuminating did not have resources here on the ready the day of the storm. We all knew the storm was coming. This is a major failure of UI and I hope this is investigated so we don’t have the same problems when the next storm comes.”

Maglione said he understands the frustrations but said that the power companies have a priority list, with essential operations, such as police, fire and hospitals, first, followed by the circuits with the largest numbers of outages.

Maglione credited the teamwork between UI and the city’s public works department, which he said worked round the clock to open roads.

But Maglione said, while many escaped with only a few days without power, there were five homes that were destroyed during the storm.

“I’ve seen the damage from past storms … Gloria, Sandy … but this was something,” Maglione said about the tropical storm. “The damage done in four, five hours was widespread and significant. Our public works guys and emergency crews did an outstanding job.”