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8/7/2020 - Letter from the First Selectman Regarding the Storm Aftermath - 8/7/20202

To The Board of Selectmen and Residents of Southbury:

I feel it is critical to update you on the status of Southbury after Tropical Storm Isaias and address the Town’s response with cleanup efforts.

At this time, 30% of Southbury is without power. At our peak, 58% of our homes were without power after the storm. Since that time, our Public Works crews have been working to address issues of blocked roads from trees that do not involve power lines.

Residents need to know that our Town Public Works crews are not allowed to remove any trees or branches that touch wires. Regulations require that a power company crew, in our case Eversource, be present before any work is done on trees touching wires. This is done for safety reasons. Protocol is that Town crews are to assume that all wires are live and an Eversource crew needs to handle the situation.

Eversource did send one “make safe” crew to town last night for 7 hours. They left at 3am and have not returned. As a result, the Town is at the mercy of Eversouce and the availability of their work teams. Frankly, Eversouce doesn't have enough crews to go around. Additionally, they failed to line up a sufficient number of crews from other states to handle this level of work.

In my opinion, Eversource grossly underestimated the impact of Isaias. After it hit, they had only a quarter or a third of the number of teams generally needed for a storm of this magnitude.

Be assured that our Public Works team is working as hard as possible under the constraints that exist. They are in constant contact with Eversource and are available whenever Eversource is in Town. They are as equally frustrated as you are.

Jeff Manville
Southbury First Selectman