I want to start by thanking you all for your patience during this very challenging time. Tropical Storm Isaias caused significant and widespread damage to property and infrastructure, but we are thankful that there was no loss of life in West Hartford. Like you, I am beyond frustrated at the pace of the recovery. Eversource preparation and response has been inadequate. After this is over, state regulators must hold Eversource accountable for letting so many people down. Right now, our focus is on recovery, and we are pushing Eversource as hard as we can to quickly make repairs. Today, Eversource crews are working south to north, following their transmission power line from Newington toward the center of West Hartford. Some of the circuits being repaired today have several thousand customers on it.
Still, it will be a couple of days before all individual customers are restored. Transparent and honest estimates of recovery time are critical. Eversource has informed us that tomorrow customers may log onto their accounts to obtain a restoration timeline. Presently their mobile app is not able to provide this information. Today, Eversource crews have been working in the areas of Elmwood, Park Road, Boulevard, Ridgewood, Tunxis, Briarwood and Waterside Lane. Those crews are restoring power, wires and infrastructure. Once repaired, power will be restored to larger outage areas. Eversource is requesting anyone with outages to call 1-800-286-2000 or go to their website, eversource.com.
I want to share two messages of caution. First, we strongly encourage people to check through their homes to make sure that there are no electrical devices left on, such as a stove, so when power is restored they do not become an ignition source for a fire. Secondly, please use extreme caution when operating a generator. Make sure it is properly ventilated and is installed according to manufacturers’ specifications. (See American Red Cross’ “How to Operate a Generator Safely”) Public Works crews have successfully cleared trees and wires making all Town roads accessible. Food safety is a big concern for any business or home that has been without power since Tuesday or Wednesday. Visit FoodSafety.gov to review the USDA’s food safety chart. West Hartford Public Works has set up a 24-hour food recycling station at Norfeldt Little League Field, located at the corner of Trout Brook Drive and Boulevard. Public Works is working with Quantum Biopower to turn spoiled meat, fruit, vegetables, and liquids into bio-fuel.
Lastly, if you are voting by absentee ballot for the August 11th primary, please consider using the drop box at town hall instead of U.S. mail to ensure your ballot arrives in time to be counted. West Hartford is a resilient community, and we will get through this together. Be safe, and be well.