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First Selectman 'Frustrated' As Hundreds Remain in Dark in Killingworth

Nearly 400 CL&P customers were still without power at midnight Thursday.

Nearly 400 customers in Killingworth were still without power early Thursday morning, despite earlier estimates by Connecticut Light and Power that electricity would be restored to 99 percent of the town by the end of the day Wednesday.

While the reason for the prolonged outages remains unclear, Killingworth's first selectman expressed more frustration Wednesday with the company's effort to get the power back on.

"It's just been a frustrating process," said Cathy Iino, who was one of several local leaders that in September over its response to Tropical Storm Irene.

During a legislative hearing on Sept. 19, Iino said CL&P's response to the storm was “kind of a joke” in her town.

Iino said her frustration led to the decision not to request a CL&P liason to help the town recover from Saturday's historic nor'easter.

"I didn't request one because frankly they weren't too useful the last time," she said.

The liason assigned to the town to help in the aftermath of Irene was not prepared, according to Iino.

"She was less than helpful. Eventually they did replace her with somebody who wasn't often here but he was much more knowledgeable and they set up a staging area and they set up a strategic command center up at the middle school here and then things got a lot better but that was already five days later," she said.

Saturday's storm knocked out power to homes in businesses in northern and eastern sections of the town, but did not disrupt the center of town.

Iino, who lives along Route 148 and was without power until it was restored Tuesday night, said she knew of only four CL&P employees who were working in the town Wednesday.

"People are losing their patience. Especially people with medical issues," she said.

Iino has written a letter she plans to share with state Sen. Ed Meyer and state Rep. Jim Crawford, who together are working on a bill that would set legislative standards to deal with the response of power companies following an emergency.

Meanwhile, the town closed its emergency shelter at Haddam Killingworth Middle School on Wednesday.

Don McDougal, the town's director of emergency management, said about 300 residents took advantage of the shelter during the four days it was open.

By Wednesday, volunteers had run out of water to give to residents but they could take a shower or charge their cell phones, explained McDougal.

"The last time I opened a shelter (before Irene) was in the 1980's," he said.

George Hedrick November 03, 2011 at 11:03 AM
So Lino did not request a liason because CL&P was less than helpful the last time. So this is the kind of leadership we can expect from her in Killingworth? It is not a joke to the residents without power whom. are literaly left out in the cold.
Bill Romero November 03, 2011 at 11:56 AM
Killingworth was fortunate compared to many communities in the State who are still without electricity. We have a West Hartford family in our home waiting for electric service to return. Ms. Iino, you decided not to accept a CL&P liasion for this storm? You were frustrated with the level of communication and service you were getting? Now you want to pass legislation to put more rules on our businesses...which the businesses will then pass "the cost" to implement those services onto us. And we wonder why businesses do not want to do business in CT? I am offering some things to consider on November 8 - Election Day. Please vote - Bill Romero - Republican for 1st Selectman
Katy November 03, 2011 at 12:16 PM
The courant had a story about this possible bill yesterday and any fines and costs would be put on the backs of the utilites shareholders, not the customers. I used to live on Rte 148 and CL&P always thought of Killingworth as an afterthought. Sad to some things never change
Arthur Muldowney November 03, 2011 at 12:19 PM
Mr romero you just convinced me not to vote for you. Do you have any concern for your killingworth neighbors who have been in the cold and dark for almost a week now? Fortunate? Many people without power are elderly and some people are medical issues in my neighborhood you're concerned about cl&p as a business!
Bill Romero November 03, 2011 at 01:14 PM
Mr. Muldowney, I am concerned about your taxes going up with you being on a fixed income. If we keep pushing for more regulations on businesses, the additional cost will get put back onto "those who pay for the services." The shareholders will not be the ones to shoulder the cost in the end. The cost will be put back onto us, the ones who pay for the services. Mr. Muldowney you obviously have electricity also. Have you had anyone come to your home for a shower? Do you have anyone staying in your home? I have. The Killingworth shelter closed Wedneday. There was a reason for Ms. Iino to close it. Killingworth is a "rural" community. People move here because it is a "rural" community. With a "rural" community comes some challenges. We do not offer the same level of services as a larger town or city. Killingworth was fortunate compared to "many communities" in the State who are "still" without electricity. What about the several hundred thousand who are still in the cold and dark in those communities, where is your compasion for them? if you or any of your neighbors are without electricity, please know that you are welcome in my home for a shower and a meal. My office is still without electricity in East Berlin. I am in Killingworth today. Feel free to call me if you need transportation.
scatherine November 03, 2011 at 03:25 PM
I will not vote you either. You seem very arrogant and unconcerned about your neighbors. You make assumptions, apparently without facts to base them on. Why do you assume someone has power because they use the internet? Why do you think that rural communities should accept a lower level of service from the electric company? I wouldn't dream of advising my neighbors to go to your house for a shower or meal. I have no confidence that you really care.
Shari November 03, 2011 at 03:50 PM
For all the times I have heard and read about the "sense of community" in our Town I feel now is the time to show it. Our Town is small and rural compared with others. Our Town is probably going to be one of the last ones done. I can remember after Gloria hit being without power for almost 2 weeks. Probably the last house turned on in Town. At least it felt that way. The electric company, with still so many people out of power, will spend their time trying to turn on as many houses/business in a small radius. That is just the way it is.....I don't like it either because I know how it feels just waiting. Well now is the time for neighbors and friends to step up and help one another. It is no fun sitting in the dark or being cold at night. We personally have one family staying with us now and we have invited another one to join us as well. Please do not criticize us for not caring. We do. My husband and I have a tremendous amount of compassion. So step up and open your home to some friends without power. Our offer still goes out to those in need of a shower and a meal. I would just hope that if the situation were reversed I would have nice neighbors and friends who would do the same for us.
Cathy Iino November 03, 2011 at 03:54 PM
First, the good news: we are now down to about 5 percent outage in Killingworth. That's small consolation to people who are still without power, but I hope the news will continue to improve as the day goes on. Mr. Hedrick questions my decision not to request a liaison officer from CL &P. If I had thought it would do any good, I certainly would have requested one. My decision was based on my experience during Hurricane Irene, when the liaison officer assigned to the town simply made matters worse, by adding a layer of bureaucracy between me and CL&P. I have spoken with our Senior Account Executive at CL&P at least a dozen times a day since last Sunday. A liaison officer would not have added anything to the process. Mr. Romero opposes regulation of CL & P, but CL&P is not a business in the free market. CL&P is a monopoly. They have shown that they do not respond to market pressures. CL&P doesn't care about the extra costs to our residents of running generators or replacing spoiled food; they know that we can't take our business elsewhere. Regulation is the only way we can make them meet our needs. We have a big problem with CL&P, AT&T, and other utilities serving the town. Once this immediate crisis is over, I will be working hard with our state and federal representatives to try to bring some accountability to these corporations. We cannot allow them to continue to compromise our services without any consequences.
Mike Butler November 03, 2011 at 03:57 PM
Bill, I don't know who Mr. Muldowney is and whether he actually had been considering voting for you or is just venting some partisan spleen. I do agree that we in Killingworth were fortunate—this time—and percentage-wise we are better off than some communities which were totally blacked out. I was lucky and didn't lose power—this time. But the memory of Irene is fresh. I hope Mr. Muldowney is planning on taking a break from his keyboard to look after some of his neighbors who need help. Why she closed the shelter has not been made known to me, but I reckon our 1st selectman could have chosen a more adult way to handle her problem with CL&P than to pout and refuse to talk to them due to a previous miff. Turning one's back on any help the company might offer now and then turning around and using it as a pretext to advocate more big-government solutions, that's not how I would have done it. And now there's no staging area or strategic command center? That's progress? Bill, I am heading up to the Berlin area if you need anything picked up or dropped off. And Orange-MIlford tomorrow. Anyone who has a "situation" that can't be handled by dialing 9-1-1 is welcome to call me...have car, will schlep. Meanwhile, friends, be safe, drive carefully, and keep those generators and gas or charcoal grills outdoors.
Bill Romero November 03, 2011 at 05:04 PM
Ms. Iino, Let's pass more regulations and legislation. This will raise utility costs higher. It is irresponsible leadership to do this. Let's tell CL&P to add more full time staff and equipment. Who do you think will pay for that? Do you think they will take a pay cut? Let's require them to have sub-contracted help available within a 12 hour notice. How much more do you think that will cost? Who will pay for that cost? Let's demand that CL&P put Killingworth at the front of the line over other communities who are in worse shape then Killngworth... You wanted to regulate outdoor wood burning furnaces, for the sake of "1" complaint. Do you have any idea "yet" how many people are heating their homes "now" with these furnaces? What about the Chatham Health District? You would have us pay more for their services and add on another level of bureaucracy. We get to pay more in taxes. You think by passing laws that you are compassionate and fighting for the Community's best interest. I disagree. My compassion, understanding, and reason-ability looks at the big picture. There is a "cost" to the Community in the form of higher taxes (local and State) when you pass additional laws. We will survive the storm. I do not want to see us pay for this storm years down the road, through higher utility costs and taxes. As 1st Selectman, I will be the first to fight for our Community with compassion, understanding, and "responsible leadership".

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