750 utility poles were damaged by Tuesday’s severe weather. Eversource Regional Electric Ops President Craig Hallstrom says they are taking delivery of 1,000 new poles to install around the region. He compared this storm to the recent nor’easters in March, which more typical for Connecticut. Only about 50 poles were damaged during those storms. The utility had a lot on hand, but they also reached out to their vendors and other utilities to expedite the repairs.
Hallstrom says getting crews into the area hasn’t been the cause of delays; it’s been the lack of infrastructure. Workers have come to Connecticut from as far as Michigan and Quebec.
Safety is one of the biggest concerns for Eversource. There have been a number of people out with chainsaws cutting trees in the road, some of which have utility lines tangled in the branches. Eversource is cautioning people to assume that all wires are live and dangerous.
Hallstrom was asked why, after Irene and Sandy, Eversource didn’t consider moving utility lines underground. He says it’s not feasible and that would make problems harder to fix. He noted that for every one overhead line, there has to be two underground transmission lines. Hallstrom says another consideration is that there are also telephone, fiber and cable lines on the poles too.
Primary crews are working on high voltage lines and substations to get the backbone of the system back. Hallstrom says low voltage crews are focused on services at the same time to shrink the restoration time as much as they can.