Alert, observant and insightful “06880” reader Iain Bruce writes:
In the first 3 days after Isaias I bicycled about 125 miles in Westport, Norwalk, Wilton, Weston, Easton and Fairfield. The breadth and intensity of the destruction is astounding, as bad as or worse than Sandy. I fear that folks who are excoriating CL&P and UI may lack perspective.
The electric grid is large and complex. Getting electricity to any particular place suffers from the limitations of what is built and the laws of physics. The grid covers not only Westport but all our neighboring towns, and is an interconnected and integrated whole. It has to be reassembled in a logical order with legitimate competing priorities (safety, police/fire, population density, etc.), but always subject to those limitations of structure and physics.
I have cycled on numerous roads where huge decades-old hardwoods (oak, maple, hickory) have been split asunder and taken out all the wires in 4 or 5 places over less than a mile. I’ve passed through by walking the bike across a lot of yards, over walls, and under trees where cars cannot go (and bicycles probably ought not).
One example will suffice. On Friday I saw a UI crew working to repair huge damage at the intersection of Redding Road and Hull’s Farm in Fairfield. When they finish this large-in-its-own-right job after several hours it will probably restore power to approximately nobody, because 700 feet farther north on Redding Road another tree has taken out the wires, and 1,000 or so feet north of that, a large tree is suspended by electric cables above the street.
Half a mile farther north, Cross Highway is closed on both sides of Merwins Road with wires down and transformers smashed amidst arboreal carnage. This all in a mile or so of travel. Multiply this by hundreds of miles of grid in Westport and surrounding towns, and you should have at least an inkling of the scale of the problem.
Many of your readers do understand this, but people calling the utilities callous, careless, or worse seem themselves uninformed at best. Patience would be in order.