Word from one of the last places in CT without power: ‘We’re lucky’
DANBURY — At one of the last places in Connecticut without power, Debra Burger was grateful on Wednesday to wrap a blanket around her grandson after a dip in Lake Waubeeka.
“We are very lucky here,” Burger said as a half dozen bucket trucks worked up the street to restore the remaining 250 people in Danbury without power. “Our neighbors have been great.”
Burger, who has lived in the private lakeside community in western Danbury since 2011, said the frustration of waiting so long for restoration after tropical storm Isaias was made up for by neighbors who shared their generators and electricity.
Late Tuesday night, the power came on for Burger and about half the homes in Lake Waubeeka.
“I’m in a good mood,” Burger said on Wednesday with her toes in the sand.
Day nine without power in Danbury did not start with much gratitude at City Hall or at neighboring town halls where patience has run out with the embattled utility Eversource.
The 485 addresses without power in Danbury and surrounding towns as of mid-morning Wednesday was a remnant of the 60,000 homes and businesses that were without power in greater Danbury late last week.
Eversource set a goal to restore 99 percent of its customers by midnight Tuesday, and held a news conference in Danbury on Tuesday to announce it was on schedule. As of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, about 1,400 of the utility’s 1.28 million Connecticut customers were still waiting for their electrical meters to turn on.
Eversource got no credit from Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, who said he is speaking to attorneys and elected leaders in neighboring towns about suing the utility for damages.
“Eversource doing a victory lap this morning is laughable,” Boughton said in a social media post. “Some advice: Get the lights on, reimburse people for lost perishables, reimburse businesses for lost revenue, do not tack on the repair bill to future bills, speaking of bills, drop the new charges that have caused bills to skyrocket, cap CEO and executive compensation, then we can talk.”
Eversource meanwhile continued to see its crisis response differently, with an executive on Wednesday calling the emergency line work “tremendous.”
“Thanks to the focus and commitment of the thousands of crews in the field and support personnel working hard behind the scenes, we were able to achieve our goal of restoring power to the vast majority of customers by (Tuesday) night,” said Craig Hallstrom, Eversource president of regional electric operations, in a prepared statement. “We know how tough it is for customers to be without power and we greatly appreciate their patience.”
By late afternoon, 400 people in Connecticut remained without power, and three dozen of them were in Danbury.
In Lake Waubeeka, 77-year-old Bo Detch was touring the restoration work on the west side of the community with an umbrella to shield him from the sun. Like his neighbor on the beach with her grandchildren, Detch’s power came on late Tuesday night.
“Not everybody had a generator unfortunately — the generator I had I shared with a friend of mine,” said Detch, who has lived in the community 20 years. “My friend kept it in his truck and would bring it to the house for a few hours and then his own house, mainly to keep the food in the refrigerator going.”
“It was hot, but we got through it,” Detch said.