Are We Having Fun Yet?

On Tuesday afternoon I said this would be a long one.

I may have been low-balling things.

As of 7 p.m. last night, Eversource was still “evaluating outages.” There’s a lot to evaluate, I’m sure. But more than 24 hours after what’s been called the 4th worst storm ever to hit the state, Westporters wonder whether power restoration will take days — or weeks.

It’s not as if Eversource has not prepared for storms. Despite what an “06880” commenter said yesterday, they have a robust preventive tree-trimming program. We’ve all seen the trucks on the roads this summer.

The lack of trucks now is getting people testy. So is the heat. And the search for WiFi and food.

We’re creatures of habit. We crave certainty. Between COVID-19 and Hurricane Isaias, we’re swamped by uncertainty, 24/7.

We would not like to click on Eversource’s outage map and see “Estimated repairs completed by Tuesday, August 11.”

But seeing “evaluating outages” is megawatts worse.

(PS: I’d love to post a photo of a utility crew at work. If you’ve got one, send it along!)


So if this is Connecticut’s “4th worst storm ever,” what were the 3 worse ones?

Probably Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, followed by the “Snotober” Halloween snowstorm in  2011, and Hurricane Gloria in 1985.

Don’t forget the 1955 hurricane, or 1938.

Where does this one rank on your list? Click “Comments” below.

This scene of Superstorm Sandy’s fury is from North Compo Road.


“06880” reader and longtime friend Terry Brannigan writes:

Lots of folks are bumping around in the dark, or looking for generators. Yet many Westporters have SUVs, minivans, Jeeps and other cars with AC adaptors.

You can run a cord from them into the house, and plug in plenty of lamps. W had 6 Tuesday night, no problem.

The longer the cord, the more you will lose amperage. Shorter is better, but be careful to park outside — not in a garage. You don’t want fumes!

The car is quiet, has low emissions and will idle for a couple of weeks on s full tank of gas. Those generators your neighbors have are loud, smelly and thirsty!

PS: Your car AC adaptor won’t power your refrigerator. But you will have light, music and the ability to charge batteries.


Plenty of Westporters have discovered the library’s Wifi. The building is closed, but coverage extends into Jesup Green and the Levitt Pavilion parking lot.

Some of those seeking service have (not surprisingly) forgotten that in addition to the power outage, we’re in the midst of a pandemic. With so many people trying to access the internet, it’s hard to stay socially distant.

So, a gentle reminder: Log on, and mask up!

A peaceful, post-Isaias scene on Jesup Green. Crowds are tighter closer to the building.  (Photo/Ted Horowitz)

 


I mentioned yesterday that Don Meno — Bill Taibe’s new restaurant replacing Jesup Green — is open for dinner. So is Walrus Alley next door (the former Rothbard + Larder).

And don’t forget Jeera Thai, the fantastic spot across the street from Design Within Reach. We’re lucky to have it in town — and luckier still that it’s one of the few restaurants with power.


I’m not sure if Balducci’s is still open. But yesterday they got kudos for serving customers (with non-perishables, of course), despite no power.

Starbuck’s is open downtown. Their Wifi and cell service are down though, so it’s cash only. And if you need an ATM, because who carries money these days? Good luck with that.

Stew Leonard’s is open too. In the hours after the storm, they went through an astonishing 20 pallets of ice. They’ll keep getting deliveries of essentials, and keep selling ’em.’


And finally … who would have thought last year that 2019 would be “the good old days”?!

35 responses to “Are We Having Fun Yet?

  1. Shirlee Gordon

    More info on the storm Eversource won’t be done till August 11…omg

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Cheryl McKenna Kritzer

    Great post Dan ! Informative and hilarious 😆
    Thank you once again for helping us all weather these storms both virtual and viral !
    2019 were the good ole days 😂

  3. LITERALLY: We went out 3X yesterday and saw much of Westport- and saw NOT A SINGLE Eversource truck. Now, to be fair there may be safety reasons and maybe they have the turn off power to work on things…but…eh???

  4. Michael Isaacs

    We’re taking our summer vacation this year… to Fairfield! We pulled into the Best Western yesterday morning. It’s spotlessly clean, and the room is great. $127 a night (plus taxes). Why not? Don’t know about everyone else, but after one or maybe 2 nights with no power we need showers and air conditioning and WiFi. Plus our wires were felled by a tree, so who knows when they will be repaired. There’s power in this area, great Stop & Shop nearby, etc. Place was sold out last night. Not a bad vacation!

  5. As we’re into day 3 of chapter 18 of “the year we’d like to forget” I cannot understand how so many roads are still blocked or limited with fallen tree parts. I’m not talking about the ones with downed power wires. These are open streets with one lane, or part of it, blocked causing drivers to swerve into the oncoming lane in a race to avoid a head on collision. If a foot of snow can be cleared off the roads in a few hours, why can’t a few dozen tree limbs be “plowed” to the side of the roads??
    And with Post Road traffic lights out, why not have police manually direct traffic at major intersections. Each intersection becomes a game of “chicken” with a contest to see who will back off first. If police resources are scarce (like Eversource trucks, I haven’t seen any WPD at any intersections or blocked roads), why not call in the National Guard to direct traffic. Isn’t that what they’re created for…maintaining public safety? Don’t they have bases nearby in Fairfield and Milford?
    Who makes these decisions…First Selectman, State Reps, Governor? It seems that we’re on our own in Westport at this point, and that’s very disappointing.

  6. Driving on post road is unsafe to say the least. Almost half of the cars do not treat the intersections of down traffics lights as four-way stops, not to say they don’t give in for pedestrians! Maybe it’s time for Marpe to order the cops to be out maintaining law and order (and cashing in the potential huge amount of violation tickets for offsetting the financial woe soon-to-be-discovered).

    And where are our state reps of Westport on this?

  7. I see no work being done and I don’t think any work is being done. I would be fired if I was still assessing work. I don’t understand why t”zero action is taking place. We need help, Eversource has completely failed us.

    • Right now, our First Selectman, our State Reps Steinberg and Haskell, and our Governor appear to be failing us as well. And I won’t even get into Cablevision.

  8. According to Ryan Hanrahan, chief meterologist at NBC CT, the worst storms ranked in terms of Eversource outages are:
    1: October Snowstorm (803,000 outages)
    2: Tropical Storm Irene (671,000 outages)
    3: Tropical Storm Isaias (600,000+ Outages)
    4: Hurricane Gloria (506,000 Outages)
    5: Hurricane Sandy (497,000 Outages)

    https://twitter.com/ryanhanrahan/status/1290852339423891456/photo/1

  9. Just to provide an Eversource update-according to their call center they have not sent any crews to Westport and do not know when they will be coming.

  10. Power companies have mutual aid agreements just like Fire Departments have mutual aid agreements.
    I’m going to bet that Eversource and UI went south to help restore power.
    No one really (that’s including everyone here in Connecticut) realized that this storm was going to be a quick hitting destructive punch with so much infrastructure damage.
    This storm was unique compared to others I’ve lived through in the last 45 plus years.
    This is just my thoughts and observations from seeing a couple comments here and there mentioned in the comment thread of other news and information articles across the internet.

  11. This is what Bayberry and Nutcracker looked like on Tuesday and also today. Great progress by Eversource.Brian RutterSent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

  12. Hoping someone can answer this…if the Westport Library has a power source (I was one of the many taking advantage of their wifi and working from the parking lot yesterday) why are they closed? I seem to recall in past power outages that the library remained open. Before anyone answers with the obvious Covid/social distance response…I see people at restaurants seated in groups that are definitely not six feet apart so I am curious as to why the Westport Library can’t do the same indoors with all of the recommended precautions and offer relief to some of the people who are at home, for example, some of the older people who are clearly uncomfortable isolated in the heat.

  13. You really have to question the wisdom of an economic model that prohibits a local community from removing dangerous downed trees after a storm.

    The “wait for Eversource” whenever powere lines are involved doesn’t seem to be working. Why not give fire departments/emergency workers more control of our local electric grid?

    The entire state is waiting for one lousy, unresponsive company while there are many, many local/regional public and private resources that could be deployed.

    Or, I guess we can just wait for help from Canada (!).

  14. We should not be ranking storm severity by the number of power outages. Judged by the relevant metrics – wind speed, gusts, flooding, precipitation, and duration – this was a pretty bad but not even remotely “historic” storm. So if there are “historic” outages, then that’s pretty clearly at least partly on Eversource. If you accept the faulty premise that this was a historic storm because so many of Eversource’s customers are without power, you’re giving them a free pass, when in fact we all pay them hundreds of dollars a month to ensure a stable, safe power grid. God forbid we have an actual hurricane someday.

  15. I work for Mitchells on the Post Road, we are running on generator and really hoping that power will be restored soon! if anyone sees ANY Eversource trucks post it here! Zero dispatch for 2 days is bad, and needs to be explained by Eversource. no, street lights, no grocery stores… but that’s less important than……….?

  16. I’m working at greens farms – just seen the eversource trucks pull up. Hopefully will be out in town soon fixing power.

  17. To add a little levity to this sh*tty situation, Dan, I’m guessing you have a free food for good press contract with Jeera Thai since you have mentioned them glowingly in MANY posts.
    Enjoy it!!

  18. Dianne Saunders

    I was wondering if anyone knows the status of the YMCA. Apparently the management has decided not to communicate the facility’s status with the members. There has been no email update, and their website makes only the following statement about the situation: “The Gymnastics Center and Camp are open today, Thursday, August 6th, however the phones at the Gymnastics Center remain down.” What does that even mean? Is the pool open? Why have they not provided an email address or some other way for members to ask questions? Is it even possible or advisable to drive over there from Fairfield? I find it appalling that they are unwilling to provide basic information to the members in an emergency. They obviously have access to their website for updates as they updated the message to today’s date, but failed to provide any additional relevant information.

    • The Y is open for members only, with reservations for the pool and fitness center. Because they are not legally allowed to have large numbers, they are restricted to members only. They are on that stretch of the Wilton Road that does have full power.

  19. They’re still sitting there an hour later… guess they are ‘assessing’

    • how many trucks?

    • Hopefully they are there to help Westport. I’ll tell them where they can start; street lights downtown Westport, grocery stores downtown Westport

      • Pediatrics/traffic lights/grocery stores, hope the linemen are not wasting time for locking on Westport and punching in OT for their own profits! They should be out there working not assessing the damage unless they are not trained well to know where to start…

  20. By the way, down stateNew York is in the same boat as we are.
    They’re screaming just like you all are.
    My area just one street over front and back of my house looks like a bomb went off (Norwalk)
    This was an unusual, freak storm.

  21. just had a conversation with a co-worker who heard on the radio that there is a major problem with Westport’s main power grid, and it will be down for weeks. Something is destroyed. Can someone confirm this?! it can’t be true! she said they didn’t want to scare people at first, so they didn’t say it.

    • A neighbor posted the following a little while ago on a neighborhood message board:

      Just saw a worker in an Eversource SUV at myrtle and Evergreen Ave and spoke with him for a moment.

      1) crews are actually out assessing damage (he is one of them)
      2) the substation at compo and greens farms road was destroyed.  They are working on rebuilding but before they can re-energize the circuits, they need to inspect every line that comes from there.  Painstaking and tedious work.  Still a lot of trees down, which hampers this work.    Going to be a while.

  22. Can anyone get an update on Optimum? The internet was up long after the storm passed and then went down that night. No notices or info from Optimum??

    • So what happens with Optimum is during a power outage their distribution points are powered by batteries. They last a few hours then die. Everyone I know that has a generator has the same problem. “we’ve got power but no internet”.

  23. Weston Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page reposted this from Redding Volunteer Fire Department Facebook page.
    Read #1 is the reason WHY you don’t touch power lines.
    Power can be re-energized even though the whole neighborhood is out.
    Just be careful everyone

    https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=3051020095014761&id=457366471046816

  24. this is very interesting…. this substation is new! I drove there today to see if anyone was outside I could talk to. Saw 2 Eversource trucks, but they were inside the little office. I didn’t want to bother them! anyway, I saw no obvious physical damage. I need to get some clarity to what’s happening before I lose my mind!

    https://www.westport-news.com/news/article/Power-to-the-people-New-CL-P-substation-ready-to-3875019.php

    • Jordan. The Compo substation IS NOT the new one.
      CL & P now Eversource bought the older house on New Creek Rd, demolished it and put up the new substation there right by Greens Farms Railroad Station parking and Greens Farms Academy.

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