Lamont, Blumenthal Visit Westport; Slam Eversource’s “Unacceptable” Response

Post-Isaias, it’s not easy to get to Town Hall.

Avery Place and Myrtle Avenue are shut. Downed wires and trees litter both important roads. Town Hall itself is closed.

But Governor Ned Lamont, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Senator Richard Blumenthal got there an hour ago. (“I had a police escort,” the governor joked.)

Joined by 1st Selectman Jim Marpe and 3 state legislators, the bipartisan group met first with Fire Chief Robert Yost, Police Chief Foti Koskinas and other officials behind Town Hall, then faced the press and a few Westport residents by the front steps.

In both places, they slammed Eversource’s actions before, during and after the storm.

Or, as more than one said, Eversource’s “lack of action.”

Clockwise from left: Senator Richard Blumenthal, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Fire Chief Robert Yost, Police Chief Foti Koskinas, Governor Ned Lamont and State Representative Gail Lavielle. (Photo/ Brendan Byrne)

Standing next to the absentee ballot box in the back parking lot, Marpe told the governor and senator that he had taken Congressman Jim Himes on a tour of Westport this morning.

There were plenty of places they could not reach, Marpe said. “Lives are at risk. And Eversource should be in touch with local leaders, so we know what’s going on.”

Blumenthal noted, “Eversource bet the storm would pass us by. They lost the bet. And we’re paying for it.”

Press and Westport citizens surround the governor, senator and other officials. (Photo/Kyle Ehrlich)

A few minutes later, facing a battery of microphones from news outlets around Connecticut, Marpe called the fact that 85% of Westporters still lack power “unacceptable.”

He added, “We need help right away. Our Public Works, first responders and Town Hall staff are working full time to get the town back in shape. AT&T and Verizon are here.

“But hundreds of roads are inaccessible. Lives are at risk. Eversource’s response is totally inadequate. I can’t tell you if 10 trucks are here, or 2, or 200. I have no idea of any time estimates.”

Lamont, speaking next, cited the COVID pandemic. “We hope for the best but plan for the worst. That’s not what the utilities have done.

“Eversource should have been pre-positioned. We’ll hold their feet to the fire later. We will have a tough post-mortem. But right now the house is on fire, and we need (the equivalent of) the fire department. That’s our first priority.”

Governor Lamont speaks at Town Hall. (Photo/January Stewart)

Lamont was “surprised” to get a call from the White House last night. “FEMA will reimburse us 100%,” he said. “But that’s small potatoes compared to the action that’s needed right now.”

Blumenthal noted, “I’ve never seen Connecticut more angry, and rightfully so. No electricity and no internet are matters of life and death.

“There can be no more teasing, no more delays, no more rate increases. Eversource’s CEO is well compensated.” (Bysiewicz said he earns $19.8 million a year.) “But he won’t even come out and meet the press.”

State Senator Tony Hwang and State Representative Gail Lavielle echoed the criticism of the utility.

State Representative Jonathan Steinberg added, “This storm hit Westport like a freight train — and it sounded like one. People say that Eversource’s response is unacceptable. Well, the word ‘unacceptable’ is unacceptable.”

Senator Richard Blumenthal, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz and 1st Selectman Jim Marpe at Town Hall. (Photo/Calvin Carson)

35 responses to “Lamont, Blumenthal Visit Westport; Slam Eversource’s “Unacceptable” Response

  1. Susan Iseman

    $19mm and he can’t face the press? Shameful.

  2. B. Wanamaker

    How can Eversource’s customer service number and emergency number be the same? Before Eversource the emergency number was the same as it is now and it gave you information … even if it was something you didn’t like!

  3. There are one to two dozen trucks sitting idle at the state boat ramps. So what is holding them up from working? Also, regarding cellular outages, what if a storm comes through? Another emergency. No one will be able to receive a warning! Its 2020, all of this non-sense is unacceptable. Hopefully #2021 can be deemed the year of #noexcuses ?

    • joshua stein

      I’d like to add: if they are the nightshift and sleeping during the day, that is fine but someone should be transparent and explain all the trucks sitting idle everywhere.

  4. James Waldron

    I can’t believe, with no power, no internet, spotty mobile data, that some of you spend your days complaining on this blog, stalking closed roads for downed trees and non-existent stop signs, Eversource trucks and crews idling, and then post your findings on Dan’s blog?

    C’mon people…shouldn’t you be chastising citizens for not wearing masks? Just think, at least you won’t get hit by a bicyclist.

  5. With Avery Place and Myrtle Ave now shut down by the storm it’s too bad Church Lane is now also shut down by the Town at the request of the DMA.

  6. James Waldron

    I’m not sure why that matters elizaBeth? What’s your point? What did you do their homes? Clean them? Paint them? Mow the lawns?

  7. A.David Wunsch

    The town in which I live, Belmont MA, has its own power company, it is municipally owned . The company is well managed . Throughout the year ,workers assess possible future damage from trees, and prune where necessary. We are very very rarely without power and when it happens the loss is only for 1 or 2 hours at most. I would suggest that Westport follow this model and own its electric power system. I realize that there will be cries of “socialism” but sometimes it works.
    ADW Staples 1956

  8. Yeh when things finally get back to the new normal nothing will change. I have to laugh that the WH and FEMA will reimburse us. Whose us? The homeowner who lost food, paid for tree removal repair damaged property will get nothing. watch! I believe nothing from this government. He still hasn’t paid the towns for extra security costs when he decides to roll into town. Selectman,please tell us where this money will go. Bet you never see a dime!
    Maybe the Eversource CEO needs a reality check by being removed, just like someone else! “Im mad and I’m not going to take it anymore”

  9. Jordan Lewis

    Will businesses on Post Road East have power tomorrow? Saturday???!!!!!! A big business day. (Including grocery stores!)

  10. Michelle Scher Saunders

    On Wednesday morning there were at least 10 electrical repair Subcontractor trucks parked in the Coleytown Elementary School parking lot. I approached one of the workers sitting idle in his truck about when the repairs would start and he told me that they were waiting for directives from Eversource. I gave him “my directives” to begin by repairing the power lines on North Avenue. He suggested that I call Eversource with my concerns. This is exasperating!!!! The trucks and workers say there all day getting paid and doing absolutely nothing.

    • They don’t care they get paid by the hour.
      Did you take a picture? Maybe town and government would be interested.
      Maybe even their overpaid worthless CEO would be embarrassed. What leadership

  11. Maybe it is time to bury the lines?? Yes, it will cost a bit more per month but imagine how much better things will be. One thing to sweat in the summer but quite another to have frozen pipes in the winter. Then with the work at home trend, will folks want to be here if they can’t have a reliable source of power to be remote or have satellite offices? The bill surcharge seems inexpensive all things considered. And I speak for Wesport now, perhaps the folks in Norwalk might be an alternative power company as Eversource’s days were numbered after Sandy and as I’ve heard somewhere, “ Here we go again.” Eversource doesn’t deserve any more chances.

    • Burying lines now is like asking trump not to tell any more lies.. just won’t happen. Freeport Long Island has had their own power company for decades. Maybe Westport needs to check it out.

    • Burying lines now is like asking trump not to tell any more lies.. just won’t happen. Freeport Long Island has had their own power company for decades. Maybe Westport needs to check it out.

      • Jeff Arciola

        Peter, another stupid liberal comment. If you want to look at liars look at the 3 wonderful Connecticut representatives in that picture. Blumenthal has a few lies if you remember but that’s ok because he is democrat. Lying about being in Vietnam. Your like CNN. Fake news.

        • Russell Gontar

          Why don’t you provide readers with examples of three slam dunk lies CNN has told. I’m going to mix myself a Lysol cocktail while I wait for your response.

          • You really don’t deserve a response and I’m not a stupid liberal I am an independent that has common sense. I think you’re right you should have another Lysol cocktail

            • Russell Gontar

              Mr. Arciola slandered CNN.. He should put his money where his mouth is and back up his claim. Not sure why this has put your knickers into a twist.

      • James Waldron

        Peter, I have a great idea for your tattoo, the Eversource logo 😉! Maybe take Eric?

    • Eversource is regulated by the state of Connecticut. Why is the Governor complaining about the performance of an entity whose behavior is largely under the control of state government? Why not ask him about his failures?

  12. If many of us can have our own generators, Westport can have its own power company, too. No generating plants necessary: Buy the wires from Eversource and the power from whoever. In all this anger, how come Optimum hardly gets mentioned? Though as old-timers know, a landline phone was a blessing (worked the whole time) even from the country’s worst provider, Frontier. How did CT get stuck with such losers? No fire to their feet since Blumenthal rose above Attorney General?

    • Right optimum is another failure because they have a monopoly. Internet cable bills are outrageous. Did you know a town in Texas changed their name to Dish Texas so they got free Tv

  13. Luisa Francoeur

    Where does the Eversource CEO reside? Might be time for on site protest.

  14. Jordan Lewis

    Still no power on Post Road East all the way to Sakura. I’m worried now. Each night I think, tonight’s the night we’ll get power back. So many businesses shutdown. And it’s Saturday!! Has anyone heard anything except next Tuesday by 11:59pm?
    I know we are seeing trucks now, so that’s good.

  15. This is just a useless political comment. CT people left alone to the hand of monopolies such as Eversource or Optimum and state government is powerless against to them because of lobbies.