Published August 30. 2011 4:00AM Updated August 31. 2011 4:42AM
The latest power outage update from Connecticut Light and Power continues to paint a bleak picture for southeastern Connecticut, which continues to see a majority of its towns at 80 percent or more without power.
As of 11:58 a.m. Tuesday, the towns of Griswold, Lisbon, North Stonington and Salem were still entirely without power; Ledyard was at 99 percent, Montville was at 96 percent and Preston was at 93 percent.
The growing frustration in those towns was not the lack of power, but the lack of information about when power would be restored.
"We did have a liaison (from CL&P) that landed on us maybe a half hour ago," Ledyard mayor Fred Allyn, Jr. said Tuesday morning, "but we haven't yet determined how that's going to help us."
"I'm equally frustrated by not knowing," said Salem First Selectman Kevin Lyden, who added that the town was monitoring its residents who use oxygen and who have other medical conditions to make sure their generators were still working.
"They seem overwhelmed," Lyden said of CL&P. "From what I see of the size of the storm, the size of the damage, it was a very bad storm. I know it wasn't a hurricane, it was downgraded to a Tropical Storm right before it hit here, but it caused a lot of damage to wires."
Lyden said CL&P is "not giving me any dates, not making any promises."
In Griswold. First Selectmen Phil Anthony said he has been calling for information on a plan of action since Sunday. Anthony said he was having a meeting with CL&P representatives at 11 a.m.; it wasn't yet clear what the outcome of that meeting was.
"We're looking forward to an actual plan of operation," Anthony said, "and that's what I've been insisting on since the day of the hurricane. We'll see."
Al Lara, a spokesman for CL&P, said eastern Connecticut is a priority for the company and that this part of the state was among the hardest hit.
"Southeastern Connecticut is a major priority because of the damage we've gotten and identified so early on in the restoration," he said. "Specifically the greater New London area, that's been a very high priority. It's just that there's so much damage in so many different areas, you aren't likely to spot crews in your specific neighborhood."
Lara said crews have been at major intersections instead, working on larger lines that carry power to neighborhoods. They need to restore those areas first, he said, before they can get into neighborhoods.
Meanwhile, Groton Utilities spokesman Frank Winkler said he expects to have electricity back to all 12,100 customers by tonight.
Mayor Joseph Jaskiewicz said Tuesday afternoon that crews from Connecticut Light and Power were still working to restore power to most of Route 32. The town hall, the youth service bureau and the senior center had power, Jaskiewicz said, but the majority of Route 32 – including the area near Montville Commons – was still without power.
Jaskiewicz said one end of Gallivan Lane had been cleared, allowing cars to exit the street safely. On Monday, downed power lines and branches blocked both ends of Gallivan Lane and led to some residents driving underneath downed power lines.
Residents are encouraged to visit Montville High School from 6 to 9 p.m. to use shower facilities. Jaskiewicz said residents should bring their own towels and toiletries.
Residents can also fill up jugs with water. The town will offer these services at the high school until power has been restored.
Norwich Public Utilities is bringing in crews from Massachusetts this afternoon to help clear trees that are entangled in wires in several areas where there are widespread electrical outages.
NPU has restored power to all but about 2,900 customers and with the added crews will work day and night until all power is restored. The Rose City Senior Center is open as an emergency shelter for residents, but does not offer showers, Emergency Management Director Gene Arters said.
Citywide, about 20 streets are blocked in some spots and 110 streets have at least some obstructions in the roadway, Public Works Director Barry Ellison said.
The city transfer station on Rogers Road will be open for extended hours this week and will accept brush and leaves at no charge. The transfer station will be open from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. without breaks for lunch and will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, also without a break.
Norwich Public Works will do a citywide curbside brush collection starting Sept. 6. There is no street-by-street schedule for this collection, Ellison said. Crews will collect brush as time permits.
The regular fall brush collection still will be held in October.
Residents who visit Mohegan Park will notice that Spaulding Pond is unusually low for the week following a major storm. In anticipation of the 10 inches of rain forecast with Hurricane Irene, city officials reduced the pond level by 4 feet at the dam to accommodate the deluge that never came.
"It will take a little while to refill," Ellison said.
Routes 164 and 165 were cleared of downed trees and opened to traffic shortly before noon today, but about 90 percent of the town remains without power, First Selectman Robert Congdon said.
Town and school officials have installed a generator at the Preston Plains School at the corner of Route 2 and Route 164 and will open the school at 2 p.m. for residents of Preston and North Stonington as a daytime shelter and to take showers and fill jugs with water for home use.
Town Hall on Route 2 never lost power and is open today.
Most town roads were at least partially blocked by downed trees or power lines during and after the storm, but Congdon said town public works crews and firefighters have cleared all areas where tree limbs are not entangled with wires.
Connecticut Light & Power is expected to send tree crews into town this afternoon to work on some areas, Congdon said.
Repair crews have made significant progress and as of early this afternoon 74 percent of customers remain without power compared to 95 percent on Monday. Areas of Pawcatuck and Mystic have been restored today.
The town has estimated that it will spend $101,000 on the response and cleanup costs. The town reported those costs to FEMA when a representative came to town's emergency operations center on Tuesday. Towns in New London county needed to incur a total of $847,000 to be eligible for federal reimbursement.
The town also has 1,000 bottles of water and ready-to-eat meals at the emergency operations center at the police station for people who need them. Call 860-599-7583 or 860-599-7584 to arrange to pick up supplies.
Town officials are also meeting this afternoon to decide how to proceed with tearing down a section of the Campbell Grain Building in downtown Pawcatuck where a two-story section of a rear wall was blown off in the storm. The building has been condemned. There is also flooding in the Charles Street area of Lords Point after a pipe backed up and broke.