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94% of Orange Has Power, Schools Back in Session

Power has been restored to most of the town, say reports. Schools and polling places are in service.

Monday Morning Update

UI seems on the verge of meeting their goal for power restoration, as the company is reporting 94% of Orange is back on the grid.

Virtually all services have now been restored to town. Students at Amity High School, Amity Middle School-Orange and Orange elementary schools return to classes today.

The emergency shelter at High Plains Community Center has closed, and both of the town's polling places -- at Mary L. Tracy School and High Plains Community Center -- are cleared to be up and running tomorrow morning. Election officials anticipate no problems in Tuesday's voting.

 

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Friday, 11:00 p.m.

United Illuminating is reporting 26% of Orange is still without power at the end of the fourth day since Hurricane / Tropical Storm Sandy hit the area.

Residents are reporting returning power, too. On Facebook, residents said areas of Green Hill Road, Miles Road, Lambert Road, Old Tavern Road and Peck Lane came back on line during Friday afternoon and evening.

UI says they expect power will return to 95% of customers before midnight Monday.

Friday, 6:00 p.m.

As the weekend approaches, some residents have asked about how they can help Orange undo the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

First Selectman James Zeoli told Patch the best way to help out the community over the weekend is to think neighborly.

"I encourage people to help when they know they have disabled, elderly or single neighbors," said Zeoli. "You can do it neighborhood by neighborhood, with neighbors helping neighbors. As long as there's no threats by power lines or dangers -- you can pile brush out at the curbside in neat piles for public works to pick up over the next few weeks. And if you have someone who doesn't drive, you can help them bag up their spoiled food or take them to the grocery store."

Zeoli also addressed progress by United Illuminating.

"It seemed to start out slowly, especially with tree crews to remove trees from wires," he said. "But we've seen a large influx of contractors yesterday and today, and there's a lot of activity going on around town ... They're diligently working. I've seen crews working in no less than seven locations. putting in poles, clearing wire ways, doing restoration work."

Dump hours have been extended to Sunday 8:30 to 4:30 for leaves and storm debris, according to a release from emergency officials. The Public Works Department will pick up storm debris cut to 6-8 foot lengths at curbside through middle of November.

 

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Update: Friday Morning

 According to UI's web site, power failure in Orange is at 59.55%. But pressure has begun to mount on companies from residents all the way up to the governor.

Governor Dannel Malloy said he is is troubled by reports that some towns might not be getting an appropriate number of utility work crews.

On Wednesday afternoon, UI reported outage figures in excess of 100%, numbers a spokesperson described to Orange Patch as a "glitch in the system." Shortly afterwards, numbers were adjusted to below 100%.

During the times figures exceeded 100%, some residents reported power on in their homes. Additionally, Orange Economic Development estimated power has also been restored in most or all businesses on the Boston Post Road in Orange Thursday morning.

Residents posting on Orange Patch expressed their own criticism of UI.

"Joke!!!!!! Those guys just drive around. I was all over the town today and yesterday. I spot 2 trucks with few guys talking instead of working!!!! 
Great job UI. !!!" wrote commenter Peter Lindberg Thursday night.

United Illuminating President and CEO James Torgerson responded to accusations at a Thursday afternoon press conference in Orange.

"None of that is occurring," Torgerson said. "We're sending our crews everywhere." Torgerson said crews are working 16-hour days. He responded to reports of of people "not showing respect," in his words, to field crews -- incidents in which citizens have allegedly thrown things at field crew employees or threatened to throw things at them -- by saying, "We really can't tolerate that."

11:15 a.m. Thursday

The newest outage figure for Orange, just released by UI, is 99.97%. The figure had been 100% or more since Wednesday afternoon, a number a spokesperson attributed to "a glitch in the system." (See previous update.)

10:50 a.m. Thursday

According to UI spokesperson Michael West, the 103% outage figure in Orange is a "glitch in the system." West says UI employees are updating the system now and hope to have an accurate figure soon.

11:00 p.m. Wednesday

As Wednesday comes to a close, United Illuminating is still showing figures in excess of 100% power failure for Orange. As of 10:48, their web site showed 6,400 customers, or 103.18% of Orange, experiencing outages.

More than 100% is not physically possible, and multiple Orange residents have reported they still have power, so statistics may be inaccurate due to a variety of factors. But the number provides a troubling survey of a town mostly in the dark. Emergency officials say large outage numbers are likely to continue as crews close off main circuits to evaluate damage.

According to UI officials, the company expects to have a timeline for restoration by Thursday morning. CEO Jim Torgerson said at a televised briefing on Wednesday morning that he understood the frustration of those in the 17 towns that UI serves in Connecticut.

"I understand these outages are a hardship on all our customers who are out," he said.

The emergency shelter at High Plains Community Center continues to be available to residents dealing with power losses. Al Mushin of CERT told Patch the shelter expects to continue to stay open at least into next week.

4:20 p.m. Wednesday

UI is reporting 100% power outages in Orange.

No other details are available at this time.

Classes at all Amity schools have been cancelled Thursday.

"After consultations with emergency services personnel it has been determined that conditions in Orange and Woodbridge remain too dangerous to hold school at all Amity schools tomorrow November 1," says a bulletin on Amity's web site.

Orange Elementary Schools, meanwhile, are closed for the rest of the week according to a bulletin on their web site.

3:45 p.m. Wednesday

Crews started yesterday with reports of 110 trees and/or wires blocking roadways, and Assistant Chief Anthony Cuozzo says around 53 or 54 have been cleared.

"Tree crews and make safe crews are still working pretty aggressively to get roads opened," he says. "It seems to me they're working primarily on the main thoroughfares, east-west routes. In situations where there's a road closure but it's only one way in, they're at least making it passable."

Outage levels remain at around 89% going into the late afternoon Wednesday.

2:00 p.m. Wednesday

89% of Orange is in the dark.

Police say not to worry -- this is to be expected. In fact, it's necessary for UI to eventually get more customers restored.

"As they find damaged circuits, you might have certain customers online in that circuit," says Assistant Chief Cuozzo. "But they had to take the whole circuit down first."

That means more customers will lose power as UI works throughout the day.

"We anticipated it would get worse before it got better," says Cuozzo.

1:00 p.m. Wednesday

UI reports increased power outages in Orange Wednesday, with 75% of town currently in the dark.

Case Memorial Library is open and wi-fi is available but somewhat limited; businesses on the Boston Poston Road are still struggling with major outages.

"The Case Memorial Library is open from 10 to 5 today for anyone who wants access to the Internet, free Wi-Fi, to charge their devices, or stay safe in a warm place. There are plenty of great magazines and books if you want some 'unplugged' fun to take home with you. You don't need your library card to access our computers or Wi-Fi, but be sure to bring it with you if you want to check out materials," writes librarian Rebecca Harlow in a blog post on Patch.

10:15 a.m. Wednesday

According to United Illuminating, 70% of Orange, or 4,347 customers, are still without power this morning. Readers have sent reports of trees still down, including one on Ridge between Clark and Hitching Post.

7:00 p.m. Tuesday

Patch readers are reporting that the large tree blocking Orange Center Road near Argyle has been cleared.

6:00 p.m. Tuesday

Amity and Orange schools have both been closed for October 31st, and Halloween festivities have been postponed until November 7, according to a release from Orange Assistant Chief Anthony Cuozzo.

"It is not safe for children to be walking in neighborhoods with potentially deadly downed power, telephone and cable wires," wrote Cuozzo. "Safety is our primary concern."

4:00 p.m. Tuesday

According to the most recent information from the Orange Emergency Center, the following roads are still fully or partially blocked by downed trees and/or power lines.

  • Orange Center Road (near Argyle Road)
  • Lambert Road (near Shepherd Lane)
  • Indian River Road (near Heron Drive)
  • Ridge Road (near Old Grassy Hill Road)
  • Wheeler's Farm Road (near the Milford Line)

We will provide updates to these road openings as soon as more information is available. According to Orange Police Chief Robert Gagne, removing trees can be difficult due to the power lines involved and removal may take some time.

According to United Illuminating, power is currently out for 75% of Orange. Additionally, many stoplights along the Boston Post Road are currently without power; drivers are urged to use extreme caution at intersections.

1:44 p.m. Tuesday

We've received this notice from Orange Highway Secretary Liz Mullins regarding tree pick-up:

The Orange Highway Department will collect tree/brush debris from storm Sandy only. Residents must pile brush and limbs cut to lengths of 6-8’ at property edge/curb and call the Orange Highway Department at 203-891-4775 to schedule pick-up prior to November 17. No debris will be picked up after November 17.

12:15 p.m. Tuesday

Portions of Orange Center Road and Lambert Road are impassible due to trees and wires knocked down by Tropical Storm Sandy. Many of the stop lights on Orange Center Road are out, so drivers should be cautious.

Racebrook Road on the Woodbridge/Orange border is blocked near the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on 990 Racebrook Rd.

Outages in Orange have increased to 75 percent of the town. 

8:25 a.m. Tuesday

As of 8:25 a.m., 68% of Orange is still without power, but recovery has begun.

State roads are now open to non-emergency traffic. The travel bans Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ordered in the state yesterday are now lifted, effective immediately, according to a press release from the governor's office.

8:00 a.m. Tuesday

"Recovery has begun," wrote Assistant Chief Anthony Cuozzo in a release.

The rest of the report:

Please do not call 911 to report non-life threatening emergencies.  Call UI at 1-800-722-5584 to report power outages.  UI line crews do not know when power will be restored.  “Make safe” and tree removal crews are out in force.  Do not run generators indoors.  Carbon monoxide can cause serious illness and death.  Resist the urge to sightsee as numerous roads are impassable from downed trees and live downed wires. Downed power telephone and cable TV wires can be live and cause injury or death. Police continue to patrol the town and volunteer firefighters are staffing firehouses. Residents should avoid using candles as light sources.  Open flames should never be unattended.  The shelter at High Plains Community center is open. Showers and a charger stations are available. 

10:24 p.m. Monday

As the first day of Hurricane Sandy comes to an end, over 60% of Orange is still in the dark. According to UI, 3,882 customers are currently without power.

As previously reported, the emergency shelter at High Plains is open, and Planet Fitness is offering free hot showers to displaced residents. Police have urged residents who do need to seek these services to use caution; winds are still strong, and Orange Patch has received multiple reports of downed trees and heavy limbs.

8:00 p.m.

Although winds have died down for now, Hurricane Sandy hasn't finished with us in Connecticut, at least according to most forecasts.

More than half of Orange is currently without power, according to United Illuminating. 58% of Orange, or 3,614 customers, are in the dark as of 8:00 p.m.

 

5:52 p.m.

UI is reporting more than 2,000 without power in Orange.

As of 5:45 p.m., 2,089 customers, or over 1/3 of customers in Orange, are without power.

4:50 p.m.

Planet Fitness is offering hot showers to the public, according to a release.

""Planet Fitness is reaching out to the community with this offer of assistance. We know that because of Hurricane Sandy, many of our neighbors may be without electricity, water and other important services. As a public service, all 26 Planet Fitness clubs in Connecticut will open their doors to members and non-members alike so that the public can use our showers and locker rooms for free. Just contact the club nearest you to see if it's open, then stop in at any of our clubs in Connecticut and enjoy a hot shower courtesy of Planet Fitness."

Planet Fitness in Orange is at 400 Boston Post Road.

3:52 p.m.

As of 3:44 p.m., United Illuminating is reporting 786 without power in Orange.

1:20 p.m.

As of 1:00 p.m., all state highways are closed to non-emergency traffic in Orange. Residents are urged to seek shelter in their homes, but displaced residents can head to the emergency shelter at High Plains Community Center.

United Illuminating reports no outages in Orange at this time.

10:33 a.m.

Governor Dannel P. Malloy ordered starting at 1 p.m. today. Trucks will be ordered off these roads at 11 a.m.

9:46 a.m. Monday

All activities and classes at the Orange Senior Center are canceled for Monday and Tuesday, according to Senior Services Coordinator Dennis Marsh. Tonight’s Cabaret & Thursday’s Lunch & Learn are postponed.

10:34 p.m. Sunday

Sandbags have been made available to Orange residents.:

Congrats to the Town of Orange for availing residents of the makings of sandbags. There were about 20 of us there Sunday afternoon; everyone was helpful, offered encouragement/best wishes for weathering Sandy, it was a fascinating spontaneous community event.

7:00 p.m. Sunday

Hurricane Sandy is scheduled to make landfall Monday morning in Connecticut, and police and emergency officials are responding accordingly.

Residents are urged to shelter in-place, according to the Orange Police Department, but the shelter at High Plains Community Center will open at noon Monday. Residents should bring toiletries, medication, and bedding -- blankets are available, but no sheets or pillows. Pets are welcome. 

The Orange Emergency Operations Center will open at 8 a.m. Monday, and will coordinate emergency response for Police, Fire and Medical emergencies.

"We're urging residents in flood-prone areas to consider evacuation before water is over the roadway," said Assistant Chief Anthony Cuozzo of the Orange Police Department.

The remainder of the report:

Residents are urged to remain indoors, do not approach swollen waterways or attempt to cross through water of undetermined depth. Do not attempt to drive, it is expected that trees and downed power lines will close many roads. Do not handle any downed power, telephone or cable lines.  These lines may be energized and can cause electrocution, serious injury or death.  Residents using Generators are reminded to ensure that they are properly connected and placed in a well ventilated area.  Generators should never be used indoors or in garages.  They emit Carbon Monoxide and can cause death.   

With the arrival of high winds and heavy rain expected by Monday afternoon, residents in areas that are prone to flooding are urged to evacuate to higher ground.  Emergency services may not be able to reach you in the event that water covers the roadway.  Residents who remain are reminded not to cross through water of undetermined depth, as the roadway may be damaged.  The Shelter at High Plains community center will open at 12 – noon on Monday.  Pets are welcome.  Bring any toiletries, bedding and medication your family requires.

Residents are asked to be patient as the storm passes; your cooperation will ensure the continuity of emergency services throughout this weather event.

Residents can elect to receive these messages via email, text and cell phones by visiting ctalert.gov and following instructions to register.

Follow on Twitter @orangectemd

1:49 p.m. Sunday

Superintendent John Brady asked parents to stay tuned for further announcements on Tuesday as the school obtains damage and power outage information.

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Davis Dunavin (Editor) October 29, 2012 at 09:07 PM
We've gotten lots of reports of short-lived outages and power being restored. Do you think UI is more on top of the game this year than in Irene?
Yooper October 31, 2012 at 04:26 PM
No info from UI, High Plains, or Town Hall. Saw UI trucks parked at HQ yesterday. Who's on first?
Norm October 31, 2012 at 09:04 PM
103% of UI customers in Orange with out power
steve November 01, 2012 at 11:17 AM
We never lost power so their reporting is very suspect. I imagine they are not recalculating their numbers as short term interuptions occur and repairs occur.
JNG November 01, 2012 at 12:24 PM
These guys are working around the clock, and many dont have power at their own homes. I was sitting at my computer when the primary line on the pole across the street from my window arced, exploded and the line hit the ground sparking. It started a fire on the leafy shoulder of the road. OPD was there in minutes. I still had power at that time. However, the line had to be de-energized to put out the fire. I am sure this has repeated itself throughout the region. The power either goes out, or has to be shut down while repairs are effected.
Jessie Brown November 01, 2012 at 01:14 PM
If Orange brings in extra private enterprise to plow our roads, why are we not doing that to clear the debris so UI can get in and fix the lines? And in all of the above timeline, where is any mention of what our first selectman has been up to?? I heard he has been working his farm since "town hall is closed". Really???!!!! That's leadership!
JNG November 01, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Town Hall has been open. I was there yesterday. I also saw State and Public Works crews out "Plowing" debris off roads. All the Private Tree companies I work with, and there are a number, are overwhelmed with private work. They will go to the highest bidder.
Yooper November 01, 2012 at 02:13 PM
I stopped at town hall Tuesday to ask who in the town is in contact with UI and got a shrug. Could it be nobody?
steve November 02, 2012 at 11:31 AM
Where has Jim Zeoli been through all of this. Have not heard a peep. I also heard the conditions at the Orange Community Center are deplorable - wonderful leadership.
Davis Dunavin (Editor) November 02, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Latest word is that large sections of Orange are going back on the grid: we'll have updates soon!
john November 03, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Youve "heard" things are deplorable at the community center?, from whom did you hear this? Ever thought to go there, maybe volunteer to help others in the community, rather than cone here and post a derogatory comment. If its bad there, do something to change the conditions. One man can make a huge impact on the lives of those in need Steve.
Christopher Schaefer November 03, 2012 at 10:22 AM
Rosa DeLauro: Disaster strikes. DeLauro suddenly appears, getting free photo ops, to tell residents “Submit insurance claims to get reimbursed”. And for this? YOU pay her an annual salary of $174,000. http://RosaDeLauroExposed.wordpress.com/
Keith Marquis November 03, 2012 at 03:11 PM
I have been to High Plains 2X. Once for a shower and once to get other info. I would NOT call the condition deplorable. If you think High Plains in itself is deplorable, then there is no argument to be discussed. I found High Plains clean and comfortable. People there seemed to be enjoying the company of fellow townspeople. It may not be the Ritz, but it is more than adequate and far from "Deplorable". I hope people realize these work crews are doing their best. It is not as simple as cut the tree off the lines and all is well. There are other trees around the corner, broken poles here and there that need to be replaced before lines can be installed let alone power being restored to those lines. In many cases the pole is owned by SNET who must replace the pole before UI can run wire or restore power. The wire must also wait for the tree removal and the safety of the workplace. Remember to get the electricity to you it comes from some distance and the lines need to be clear for the entire route. There are a number of factors that slow the pace of the restoration of power. Most we as consumers don't think about or have no knowledge of. The linemen are doing their damnest to get us up and going. We'll get there. Patience. Complaining will only raise our blood pressure. And no.... as of this writing I do not have power.
Sam November 03, 2012 at 05:20 PM
John I SO agree with you. Did Steve help out at all??? As for Yooper stopping at Town Hall, who did you see? The Town Hall was closed on Tuesday due to the Storm. Also to Steve, where was Jim Zeoli, you might want to get a seeing eye dog, Jim Zeoli was EVERYWHERE, over seeing what was going on and dealing with people at High Plains and Town Hall. Putting something on FB daily for those who had access to internet otherwise he was trying and did a GREAT job during this Storm. I am VERY proud to say he made getting through this Storm very easy. He has been hands on throughout all of this. Steve all you've done is post negative things instead of doing something positive.

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