And Then There Was Light…

by LonSeidman

Utility Crews Go To Work on Kimberly Ct. Friday Evening

“Hallejulah!!!!!”

That was the sentiment echoed by the Hayes children as they returned from a walk around the block with their parents towards their home on Kimberly Court. The sight of white and yellow utility trucks was the best thing the family had seen all week. Jeanine Hayes beamed as her two boys and husband scampered towards the house, turning on light switches

Residents express frustration on Midwood Dr. Power was restored to the neighborhood on Thursday.

and turning on the faucets. “Bailing water from the bathtub has been an experience for 5 days” she said Friday evening. Moments later the drone of a generator shut down, revealing the peaceful chirping of birds and silence across the neighborhood. “Boy he must be happy,” one of the five electrical workers remarked as they worked on an underground utility box. A moment later, Richard Baxter sauntered down his driveway beaming ear to ear. He shook hands with the workers, thanking them for their work. Baxter saw an electrical worker earlier in the day around 3 pm who told him that the crews would be there soon. “These guys are great – they’re doing a great job, but there’s a disconnect between them and whoever’s talking for them up in Hartford.”

Luis Hernandez Celebrates with his neighbors Mike and Karen Mancuso at the sight of CL&P crews outside their Kimberly Drive Homes. "I don't know if we have power yet - but we're drinking already!"

Down the road, the Mancusos and Luis Hernandez didn’t even wait for the crews to reach their end of the street on a dry summery evening. Hernandez broke out a celebratory cigar when CL&P crews showed up. His neighbors, Mike and Karen Mancuso recounted the week’s ordeal without the basic need of electricity. “its been good though as everyone’s been trying to help everybody else. Some of us prepared well when they warned us we’d be out of power for seven or more days. Others… well… didn’t believe it,” said Karen Mancuso. She and her husband installed a generator Tuesday night and brought water to neighbors. Some even used buckets to harvest water from the Mad River behind their home to flush toilets during the week.

Michael Mancuso texted Mayor Dunn about power being restored at his home. “Great news. Enjoy!” Mayor Dunn texted back moments later. Mancuso said he was impressed with the Town’s response. “The Town Crew and Mayor came by with water every day.”

Power was restored to Kimerbly Court by 5:15.

Frustration mounts over miscommunication by the state's largest utility

Confusion Over Restoration
The story at Sheraton Drive was much different. As the Whisper arrived on Sheraton Drive, a CL&P surveyor was leaving. “This street is next. They should be here around 7 o’clock” said the worker in a white pickup. Neighbors weren’t impressed though. “This is bull,” said one frustrated neighbor. “I just got off the phone with Hartford and they said it won’t be until Sunday or Monday. I don’t believe anything they say anymore.” Indeed neighbors had already seen telephone and cable crews throughout the week.

A tanglement of wires and responsibility hang from a Sheraton Drive utility pole

Wires hung everywhere. Orange cones blocked off the road just past Mayor Wilensky’s residence. Yellow tape hung across driveways where wires hung low to houses. One neighbor pointed to where a tree fell on to the line near the end of the road. The sudden fall pulled wires off their homes and brackets all the way up to Overvale Drive – nine houses up and plunging the whole neighborhood into darkness.

Electrical Crews Start Work on Sheraton Drive at Sunset on Friday Night

Back at the cause of the outage, new cedar telephone poles were already planted next to the originals, leaning precariously over the street. “I guess they had to talk to Northeast Utilities for the poles to be replaced first. I mean c’mon…! You would think that they would have this organized,” said one resident named Linsdsay who refused to give her last name.”The telephone company owns the poles. They were here a few days ago. But they don’t own the wires,” another resident surmised. Indeed, nothing had been switched over as of Friday at 6 pm. Most neighbors still had phone service, and if you used a generator you could watch cable TV.

Another neighbor remarked about his week. “What’s sad is that when I leave the area, I still hear generators running in my head.”

Lights In The Night

As the Whisper returned to the area to check on progress, two utility crews were seen turning onto Lyman Rd. at 7:55 pm. The crews were from Texas, Tennessee and Louisiana in trucks with Connecticut and New York plates. They moved with earnest. One bucket truck went into the air working on house connection while another worker jotted notes on a clipboard. “We’re the night crew- we just got on,” he said while surveying wires and task at hand. This is the third night working in the Nutmeg state for these workers who no doubt have seen Hurricane Katrina wreak havoc in their own states only a few years ago. Two minutes later, a third truck arrived, meandering towards the bottom of the hill.

At 9 pm, 68 Wolcott residents were reported to still be without power, including Sheraton Drive. Of course, half of the lines were on the new poles. Half were not. Expect more utility work to come.

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