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Thousands Remain Without Power In Connecticut As Nor’easter Brews

Sandy's damage in Connecticut (credit: Governor's Office)

Sandy’s damage in Connecticut (file/credit: Governor’s Office)

NEW CANAAN, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – One Connecticut town still has thousands of residents in the dark, as Connecticut Light and Power did not send crews until five days after superstorm Sandy hit, city officials said.

Power is slowly getting restored in New Canaan, but officials said they are concerned now that a Nor’Easter is brewing.

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New Canaan Emergency Management Director Mike Handler said he has requested that CL&P not send the 65 bucket trucks currently working to restore power to the town elsewhere before the anticipated mid-week Nor’Easter storms through.

WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reports

Handler said the top priority is ensuring those who just got power back are not plunged into darkness and cold yet again when the storm hits.

“We’re concerned about it because it does bring significant winds, 35 to 40 mile an hour range is what they’re forecasting. If that happens, my concern is a lot of the branches and snapped poles we have that are leaning right now will come down,” Handler told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau.

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Handler said his concern is the amount of time to get power crews working on the lines in New Canaan following Sandy.

“Most of the trees that were down involved wires and we only had a handful of crews, so we didn’t have enough crews to actually de-energize the lines,” Handler told Schneidau.

Power companies said crews have been working around the clock to restore power.

“Despite all the progress we’ve made, we are focused on the customers that are still without power and we’re going to be working through the night and into tomorrow to ensure that they all get restored,” Frank Poirot of CL&P told WCBS 880.

As of 5 p.m., the utility reported about 17,870 still without power.

“We’re actually down to about 2 percent of customers that remain without power, so 98 percent of our customers have power,” United Illuminating spokesman Michael West told WCBS 880.

“We likely will not get to a zero number because there are a number of homes that actually cannot receive service. Many of our communities are along the shore line right along the Long Island Sound and there are a number of houses that just aren’t there,” West told WCBS 880.

Some residents who are still without power have taken shelter at the local YMCA.

An elderly couple told Schneidau they typically stay with friends during power outages, but said with the widespread outages they had to take shelter at the Y.

Lillian Zacay said she and her 92-year-old husband Victor have been getting help from friends in other ways to help weather the after-effects of the storm.

“And another dear friend brought over some down duvets for us and so we have these cots with down duvets so we’re very warm, we’re very protected and we feel like we’re living a bit luxuriously here,” Zacay told Schneidau.

Other facilities around the city are also serving as warming and charging stations for those without power.

According to Handler, CL&P assured him the vast majority of New Canaan homes will have power back by Tuesday at 11:30 p.m.

New Canaan officials said they expect schools to resume on Wednesday and said all polling places will be open as usual for Election Day Tuesday.

The New Canaan emergency operations center can be reached by calling 203-594-4100.