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Connecticut Storm Review Panel Meeting To Discuss Handling Of Oct. Snowstorm

HARTFORD, CT (WCBS 880/AP) - A committee originally put in place to review the response to Irene will meet in Hartford Wednesday to discuss how the state responded to October's nor'easter that left hundreds of thousands without power.

WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau On The Story


By Wednesday, Connecticut Light & Power reported that 99 percent of its customers had their power restored. About 3,500 outages remained, mostly in Simsbury and Avon.

Saying these past two storms were a wake-up call for change and action, panel co-chair Joe McGee says the committee will focus on better preparedness for faster recovery from intensifying storms.

"We're looking at the performance of the utilities, but we're also looking at how did we handle things like tree trimming. How did we handle communications? How do we train the utilities and town officials and emergency management officials more effectively?" he told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau. "At our first hearing, it was a very powerful presentation of the impact of a category 3 hurricane on Connecticut. This would also affect New York and the Tri-State Area, and it was really clear that 120-mile an hour winds would devastate our electrical infrastructure."

McGee says this is not about pointing the finger of blame.

Connecticut's utility companies will appear before the panel next week to explain the lessons learned from these two powerful storms that devastated the area with outages.

The parent company of CL&P is offering $10 million to establish a fund to help residential customers who experienced losses because of the rare October snowstorm.

Charles Shivery is chairman, president and chief executive of Northeast Utilities. He apologized Wednesday for the hardships imposed on CL&P's customers. At the peak of the outage, 830,000 customers were without electricity.

He says Gov. Dan Malloy can administer the fund, which would accept contributions from utility employees and state residents. The utility did not say what the fund will pay for.

Shivery says CL&P also will help with cities' and towns' tree-trimming and cleanup costs.

Northeast Utilities also offered to pay for a review of CL&P's preparedness and response to the snowstorm.

What do you have to say about the response to the freak October snowstorm? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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