A consulting firm led by the former director of FEMA will be conducting a review of power companies and their heavily criticized response to the recent winter storm.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy made the announcement during a 6 p.m. press conference to update residents on the recovery efforts from a storm that at its peak left nearly one million customers without power. It has now been almost a week since the storm hit and about 300,000 CL&P customers are still without power. Tens of thousands of United Illuminating Company customers were also without power following the storm, but UI has gotten its customers back up.
The consulting firm, Witt Associates, is led by former Clinton Administration FEMA Director James Lee Witt. The firm focuses on public safety and crisis management from mitigation to preparedness, response and recovery. Witt, the firm's chief operating officer, is conducting this review pro bono.
“As soon as everyone’s lights are back on, we need to have a very timely, thorough review of the power companies’ performances, to identify what went wrong, why it went wrong, and most importantly, identify solutions for the short-term before the next winter storm impacts Connecticut,” Malloy said. “Witt Associates has a body of experience that is second to none. James and his colleagues have worked on the state and federal level and they understand how critical it is to conduct this review quickly and thoroughly. I appreciate his offer to help us.”
Witt has more than 25 years of disaster-management experience. He was appointed in 1993 to be the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where he served until 2001. As FEMA Director, Witt coordinated federal disaster relief on behalf of President Clinton, including the response and recovery activities of 28 federal agencies and departments, the American Red Cross, and other voluntary agencies.
He also oversaw the National Flood Insurance Program, the U.S. Fire Administration, and other proactive mitigation activities that reduce loss of life and property from all types of hazards. Prior to his time at FEMA, Witt led the Arkansas Office of Emergency Services (OES), a position he held for four years.
Witt Associates is expected to complete its review by Dec. 1.