Why does Ridgefield have more line crews than Wilton?
That is not an easy question to answer. Perhaps the better question is how are line crews assigned?
In Wilton, according to First Selectman Bill Brennan, there were 23 crews working on Friday — nine line crews, seven tree crews and seven service crews (crews that attach power lines to houses). According to First Selectman Rudy Marconi, there were 30 line crews and 18 tree crews in Ridgefield.
Today, Saturday, the number of line crews in Wilton has been increased to 24, and there are about 30 in Ridgefield. Mr. Marconi announced this morning, however, there would be 100 line crews in his town tomorrow.
As of 2:40 p.m. Saturday, there were 5,183 CL&P customers without power in Ridgefield, 48% of the town. (There are 10,677 customers total.)
In Wilton, there were 4,575 without power, 62% of the 7,320 total customers.
Frank Poirot, a spokesman for CL&P, could not speak to Mr. Marconi’s remarks, but said the number of crews in any town is fluid. And crews working in one town may also be working to the advantage of their neighbors.
“Towns don’t have self-contained power grids,” he said. For example, Route 7 has a trunk line that is a distribution line serving streets and neighborhoods that branch off.
“To effect restoration in Wilton, we may have to fix the line further north in Ridgefield,” he said.
There are more than 1,000 crews working in southwestern Connecticut.
“It could be that crews working in Ridgefield or Redding will benefit Wilton.” How many crews there are in town is “not a reflection of how vigorous the restoration is,” he said.
When asked how many crews might come to Wilton Sunday he said that is “unknowable.”
More crews continue to come into the area. “As they arrive, they are being sent to the hardest-hit areas,” he said, and that includes towns along the shore and the New York border from Sherman south to Greenwich, in particular Westport, Wilton, Redding and Newtown.
“We send crews to specific trouble spots,” Mr. Poirot said, and “the number of trouble spots changes.
“The dispatching of crews is fluid. Crews move in and out all day long.”
There is still a lot of damage to repair. Ridgefield reports 50 roads still closed, and there are four that have unreachable areas still. In Wilton on Friday, while there were still blockages, every road in town was accessible from one end or the other except Old Driftway.
A week ago this past Wednesday, CL&P appealed for 2,000 additional line workers, and there were 1,000 standing by on Sunday, including 400 CL&P line workers, Mr. Poirot said. “We also had 300 tree crews standing by.”
As of this morning, there were 2,600 line workers in Connecticut, and 1,630 tree workers. More continue to arrive.
“The response has been phenomenal,” Mr. Poirot said. Crews have come from Texas, Washington state, and Hydro-Québec and everywhere in between. The Bulletin talked with a crew from Minnesota.
CL&P is still assessing damage. Mr. Poirot said the utility has replaced more than 800 broken poles, 78 miles of overhead wire, and helped reopen more than 5,000 roads. As of 9 this morning, there were still 335 roads that remained blocked in southwestern Connecticut.