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146,000 United Illuminating Customers Still Without Power; No Timeline Issued

The company's CEO said wires were down in 1,400 locations.

Some of the more than 3,000 Orange residents waiting for their power to return (as of 8 p.m. Tuesday) may have to wait a little longer. 

The United Illuminating Co., which saw 194,000 of its customers knocked off the grid at the height of Hurricane Sandy, was still working to restore power to 146,000 of them on Tuesday night. 

Jim Torgerson, the company's CEO, said at at 6 p.m. news briefing that the assessment phase of the restoration process was still under way in the 17 towns UI serves, mostly around New Haven.

Torgerson said UI had successfully energized two substations that had been taken offline because of the threat of flooding Monday night. The substation in Bridgeport, he said, had come within inches of being flooded. 

"We would have had catastrophic outages had that occurred," he said, adding that the company might have to consider elevating the station, which was built for a 100-year flood stage plus one foot.

Wires were down in about 1,400 locations, Torgerson said. The company had 349 linemen, 224 tree clearance workers, 86 service people and 208 damage assessment workers on hand to get power restored. 

Torgerson said that was about a 25 percent increase from the peak number of people working after outages caused last year by Tropical Storm Irene.

While most of the damage in UI's territory was along the shoreline, Torgerson said some inland towns sustained serious outages from trees coming down in the wind. Trumbull, he said, had about 75 percent of its customers without power.

"We'll have to see what damage has occurred before we can establish restoration times," Torgerson said.

Stacy from GreenSprays October 31, 2012 at 01:35 AM
No time estimate so they can not havw their feet held to the fire who esles job works likes this with no eta?
Kris October 31, 2012 at 07:23 AM
It has been tow days and they still could not estimate the restoration timeline? Give me a break! They just don't wan to say how long it would take them to finish so they would not have to promise anything or they are afraid that we would be outraged after we know it would take forever to restore the power. So unprofessional and inefficiency. I wish we had new competitors in this area to compete the service with UI so they won't sit on their asses doing this kind of work!
Sebastian Ortiz October 31, 2012 at 01:27 PM
How is it that Cablevision can answer their phones to let you know the reasons for their outages, but you can't get anyone to answer the phone at United Illuminating? It's beyond me. Everyone who lives about two blocks away from my jouse, surrounding me, has electricity, their houses are lit up like Las Vegas, but my block is completely in the dark, how is this possible?? What the hell is going on?? I didn't even see a UI service truck anywhere, while I drove my kids around, to give them a break, and to charge our cell phones... I'm disgusted with their service.

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