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 UI Expands Restoration Effort, Updates Estimates

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Aug 072020
 

With 80K customers restored, National Guard, Central Maine Power, and out-of-state contractors boost field presence to 800+ personnel

 United Illuminating announced Thursday that it has restored a total of 80,000 customers as it continued to expand its restoration effort with the arrival of additional crews and contractors, as well as National Guard assistance. Meanwhile, the company said it has updated its online Outage Map and Outage Alert system with restoration estimates for individual customers.

The restoration estimates reflect the company’s informed assessment of when each customer’s service will be restored, based on the information available, and is subject to change. Customers can find the general location of outages affecting their area by visiting the Outage Map at uinet.com and can find the restoration estimate by clicking on an outage location. For information about specific addresses, they can sign up for Outage Alerts, or download the company’s mobile app from the Apple Store or Google Play.

“We understand customers’ frustration and we thank them for their continued patience as our crews work to safely recover from the destruction caused by this storm,” said UI President and CEO Tony Marone. “Today, we were able to ramp up significantly with the arrival of contractor crews from as far away as Wisconsin and Tennessee, joined by crews from UI’s sister company, Central Maine Power. This expands our ground presence from approximately 600 to 800 field personnel. We are also grateful to Governor Lamont for making National Guard personnel and equipment available to assist us. Together, we will continue to aggressively work our restoration plan until every customer has power.”

The 24 members of the Army and Air Force National Guard arrived Thursday with three heavy trucks to help clear roads of debris so UI crews can access and repair damaged power equipment.

UI reported significant progress in getting customers’ power back on. As of 4 p.m. Thursday, three days after the region’s biggest storm since Hurricane Sandy, the company had restored approximately 80,000 customers. With approximately 43,000 customers remaining without service, the company is on track to meet its stated goal of restoring service by the end of Saturday to a majority of those customers who were without service as of Wednesday morning.

The company, however, said some customers will remain without service, and restoration efforts will continue until the end of Monday as the company addresses smaller and more complex outage events.

The company reminded customers to stay far away from downed wires, which can be live and dangerous even if they show no signs of being energized. Customers are advised to keep kids and pets inside, and never drive over a downed wire. Always report any downed wires to UI at 800-722-5584 (800.CALLUI).

Report an Outage:

To report an outage, visit uinet.com or call 800.722.5584 (800.7.CALL.UI). Customers can also report outages using the company’s new mobile app, available from the Apple Store and Google Play. Or, they can report outages via UI’s mobile alert system: text “OUT” to 839-884 (TEXT-UI). Registration is required.

Outage Alerts:

Sign up for free Outage Alerts at uinet.com to be notified by text, e-mail, or phone when you lose service and for restoration updates. Or, sign up for free text alerts by texting “REG” to 839-884 (TEXT-UI).

Additional Information:

Storm relief resources can be found by calling Connecticut’s InfoLine at 2-1-1, or by visiting www.211ct.org.

Governor Lamont Gives A Little On Phase 2

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Jun 052020
 

Today, Governor Ned Lamont made some changes regarding the next phase of reopening the state.

‘Phase 2’ has been pushed up by three days to Wednesday, June 17, instead of Saturday, June 20 like originally planned.

“Our public health professionals are continuing to monitor test results for possible links to large demonstrations, but as long as COVID hospitalizations and infection rates remain low, we will be in a very good position for a June 17 Phase 2,” Gov. Ned Lamont said.

He added that the change in date is to avoid having the next phase of the state’s reopening happen during a busy Father’s Day (June 21) weekend.

Lamont said more safety guidance for businesses included in ‘Phase 2’ will be released in the upcoming days.

Phase 2 businesses that are expected to reopen on June 17 include:

  • All museums, zoo, aquariums
  • All personal services
  • Bowling alleys
  • Gyms, fitness, and sports clubs
  • Hotels (no bar areas)
  • Movie theaters
  • Outdoor arts, entertainment, and events (up to 50 people)
  • Outdoor amusement parks
  • Restaurants (indoor, no bar)
  • Social clubs, pools

Schools and summer activities also are included in Phase 2. Some of these activities include:

  • All-day summer camps
  • Graduate programs
  • K-12 summer school
  • Nonresidential workforce programs
  • Nonresidential clinical courses
  • Other nonresidential programs
  • Public libraries
  • Undergraduate residential small-scale pilot programs
  • Youth sports

 

 

“We worked very closely with the restaurant association, rolled out metrics, we did the same thing with outdoor dining. The restaurants, after two weeks of outdoors, it’s going well, all the restaurants I’ve witnessed have been taking it seriously,” Lamont said on Friday.

Phase 3 would occur four weeks after Phase 2 (July 15), and would include:

  • Bars
  • Indoor amusement parks and arcades
  • Indoor event spaces and venues
  • Outdoor events (up to 100 people)

A Light At The End Of The Tunnel — Will May 20 Be “The Day”?

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Apr 302020
 

During today’s COVID-19 briefing, Gov. Ned Lamont shared some positive news. It looks like we are on our way to meeting the criteria for safely reopening the state of CT.

With a 14-day decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations on the top of the list, we are now on day 8, more than halfway to this goal, according to Lamont.

The process will be slow and done with caution. Rushing into it could cause a resurgence of the virus and possibly reverse everything we’ve accomplished these past two months.

The full list of criteria includes:

  • The 14-day decline of hospitalizations
  • Increased testing available
  • Sufficient contact tracing capacity
  • Protect high-risk populations
  • Adequate healthcare capacity
  • An adequate supply of PPE
  • Appropriate physical distancing regulations.

During the briefing, Lamont said he would look to open businesses by their ability to meet certain health risk assessments. The businesses that are able to meet these criteria would be first to open.

 

“May 20th is an important date for us,” Lamont said.

If the reopening criteria are met, Lamont laid out details on a number of businesses that could open (with certain conditions).

These include:

  • Additional outdoor recreation (e.g., camping, mountain biking)
  • Museums, Zoos (outdoor only)
  • Offices (continue work from home where possible)
  • Restaurants (outdoor only – no bar areas)
  • Remaining retail
  • Personal services (hair & nail only)
  • University research programs

Businesses such as the casinos and professional sports teams would open at later dates, according to Lamont.

“Those places where it’s tough to social distance,” he said. “Those places where you have a big crowd, I think are a little bit tougher to make sure we keep this virus under control.”

 

Republican Leaders’ Letter To The Governor, re: Covid-19

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Apr 212020
 

(photo from live science.com)

Dear Governor Lamont,

We are writing to you on behalf of the House Republican Caucus to thank you for your tireless effort in battling the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to convey our concerns about how we move forward together as a state.

Our laws allow you to make and change some policy decisions without legislative approval during these times of crisis. However, it is critical that we continue to work together for so many reasons, not the least of which is that your extraordinary authority is short term; however, the consequences of some of your decisions will be lasting. Some of the consequences will be helpful to families and others may be unintentionally harmful. It is important that we have continuity in our partnership, even when you are allowed to make decisions unilaterally.

As we alluded to in our last letter to you, it is our job as state legislators to be engaged in our districts and to listen to the constituents in cities and towns that we represent. This role allows us to share with you intimate knowledge and different viewpoints of residents and businesses throughout our diverse state. The reopening of the state is no exception; positions on this critically important decision differ based on a host of factors, but most significantly, based on where a person lives within the state.

The mechanism for reopening our state is reversing the policies in your Executive Orders. So, the most basic question that we have to answer together is: When do we start rolling back those policies? Understandably, the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group does not have that answer yet; however, the Chairs of the Group generally indicated the concerns, observations, and outcomes that will guide decisions to begin the process of reopening our state:

  • 14-day decline of cases/hospitalizations
  • Mass testing, contact tracing, and self-isolation
  • Protect high-risk populations
  • An adequate supply of PPE
  • Continued physical distancing regulations
  • Adequate healthcare capacity for all

    In concept, we agree that these are concerns that should be assigned significant weight. However, the fact that Group members have not yet identified specific non-public health concerns, in the same way, makes us question the degree of attention that is being given to other areas that impact the lives and livelihood

of our citizens. Waiting on a cure or a vaccine is not an option so I think you would agree we must consider a balanced approach to reopening the economy and protecting Connecticut residents.

For example, although there has been reporting on job losses, these numbers are not highlighted in your press releases in the same way that you focus on the points above. The state has also seen a dramatic increase in domestic violence as a result of social distancing policies. But, your office does not release daily numbers showing increases in spousal and child abuse. In addition, the policy to ban “elective” medical procedures takes a toll on people with serious health conditions. To be clear, we are not implying that you are intentionally misleading the public by not publishing this information; rather, we are concerned that these kinds of unintended consequences will continue to be overlooked or diminished while considering when to reopen our state.

We are particularly concerned about the impact of isolation and social distancing policies on children. Professionals who regularly work with children would add an essential perspective to the Advisory Group. Therefore, we recommend including a special education teacher, pediatric social worker, experienced DCF employee, and a pediatrician to the appropriate subgroup(s). These are some examples of professionals who have direct contact with a vulnerable population and who would provide needed insight into policy impacts.

Again, we believe that your motives and intentions (and those of the Advisory Group) are sincere and good. We are suggesting that we continue our partnership during these times, which includes sharing different viewpoints and truly working together to reopen our state.

In closing, we are not proposing an immediate reopening of the entire state. We are asking for 1) greater communication with legislative leaders before decisions are made and 2) greater communication with the public regarding the impact of policies being implemented.

As always, thank you for your commitment and the commitment of your staff during these difficult times. We look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Representative Themis Klarides House Republican Leader and  Representative Vincent Candelora Deputy House Republican Leader