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Why Is It Taking CL&P So Long to Get the Power Back On?

Adversity doesn’t build character, it displays it. So what did you learn about yourself through the ordeal called Alfred?

I’ve seen and heard from two kinds of people during this storm and it’s aftermath: those that have taken the opportunity to use it as a teachable moment, and those that have griped, complained, and taken the “poor me” position. Tell me, which of the two serves you better? Which of the two serves our society better?

The “poor me” type can’t see beyond their own immediate concerns. Rather than make the best out of a less than optimal situation, they feel the need to blame someone. They will criticize others rather than take matters into their own hands and work to personally improve their situations. They expect others to do it for them. I have to say I was disappointed to hear so many absurd statements following storm Alfred:

  • “Why is it taking CL&P so long to get the power back on?”

  • “Why wasn’t CL&P better prepared?”

  • “My doctor’s office is closed so I had to miss my appointment.”

  • “I haven’t even been able to check my Facebook account”

These people don’t stop to think about the larger picture before making some rather poorly thought out statements. Let’s look at just one - “Why is it taking CL&P so long to get the power back on?” Let’s see...

  • Storm of the century - check.  

  • Nothing like it on record - check.  

  • So early in the year that the trees still have leaves - check.  

  • Five times more damage than Hurricane Irene - check.

Why is it taking so long to get the power back on? Because our state was a mess! If you need more proof of that, just take a look at all the tree limbs stacked at the curb sides for pick up. I don’t remember seeing anything like that ever!

The media certainly hasn’t helped in this respect. Now that we have a media that is solely ratings driven (read that as profit driven) instead of journalism driven, they put people on the air for their “sensationalist” impact. These people tend to be in the minority, but when the media highlights these types, it looks as if they are in the majority, and others are encouraged to “jump on the band wagon” and join the “poor me” parade.

This type of thinking simply doesn’t serve them as individuals, nor does it serve the greater community. Fortunately, on the other end of the spectrum, I’ve heard many less selfish comments as well:

  • “Our family really wasn’t as well prepared for this storm as we could have been. We’re going to use this event to make some changes in our life style to be better prepared for next time. This is New England after all.”

  • “I’m using this as a teachable moment for my children to show them how lucky we really have it in a world when many have nothing.”

  • “We used the time to re-connect with our kids by reading, playing board games and talking. It’s was actually nice not to be able to use the computer, TV or phones.”

  • “I’m so thankful for the hard work the utilities are putting forth to get everybody's power restored as quickly as is humanly possible.”

  • “I ran an extension cord over to my neighbor's house so they could have power.”

The father in the first statement has his focus in exactly the right place. Rather than looking to others to “get it right” or “make everything better” for him and his family, he’s taking the proactive approach - “What can I do to make this better?” We need more people like him in our society.  

People of quality character had words of appreciation for the line workers and the overall job being done. They took this as an opportunity to help their neighbors and reach out to the greater community. They took this as an opportunity to connect with their families, play games, read. There is so much that can be done even without power.

Could CL&P have done a better job? Of course! Everyone and every business always could. But to be stronger, more self-reliant individuals ourselves, maybe it’s time to look a little closer to home.

Our society is better served by people who will stand up and take care of themselves and reach out to take care of those who can’t.

If the best you can do is be mad at CL&P for not getting your power restored fast enough, that’s more of an indicator of your lack of preparedness, not theirs. We do live in the north, let’s be more prepared ourselves. Have bottled water on hand, non-perishable foods, buy a generator, etc. Adversity doesn’t build character, it displays it. So what did you learn about yourself through the ordeal called Alfred?

Philip Scalzo November 08, 2011 at 12:09 PM
You hit it right on the head. Thanks for the article
Michelle Wheeler Warner November 08, 2011 at 01:38 PM
Great article, I'm so tired of the blame game
Mike Kinghorn November 08, 2011 at 01:47 PM
i for one have always been aware of where i live and the nature of my surroundings.however,i don't have to tolerate substandard service when i and everyone else in ct pay the highest rates in the country for electricity.most other businesses work on the principal of premium prices = premium service.not so here in ct.i am utterly prepared for storms and still don't appreciate the ambiguity the execs of cl&p have when it becomes time to explain anything.if explanations aren't available then just lie and say anything to get the rabble to quiet down.at least that's how it feels from here.my dad and grandfather were both linemen and i have nothing but respect for the linemen of today who work harder than most folks but,their bosses and management are a bunch of money grubbing liars.(if you think that isn't true look up the details of the nstar cl&p merger) the "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" tone of this article isn't that welcome to most after ten days without power.it's not like they have to put up power lines on the outer rim of mongolia it's vernon,west hartford and other towns that aren't that off the beaten path.ironically enough i live in the woods and have had power since fri and can't believe that parts of our states capitol have no service.just one other thing.if you need the removal of electricity to pick up a book or play a non electronic game or be with your family...well.
M. Troy November 08, 2011 at 02:47 PM
IT IS 2011 RIGHT. I would expect in this day we would have some kind of communication between workers on the ground to the man in the vehicle assesing to the first set of managers and so on. I see tests of fire systems monthly tests of communication monthly if we have this in place things will go smoother. What we had was not a failure to communicte but the people that were communicating with wrong onfo causing these arguments and then slowing down repairs.
Paul November 08, 2011 at 03:51 PM
Joel, I see that you own a Martial Arts School. I think you may try work as a magician. Your article smacks of sleight of hand. You're attempting to get people to look in one direction (themselves) and not look in another direction (CL&P). You fail to realize that the public are not all that gullible. Attempt to justify this. Many of the out of state journeymen who came here to help out expressed shock over how antiquated our equipment was here in Ct. These are guys who travel across the country. Now, take that little bit of info and couple it with the fact that CL&P has the second highest rates in the NATION lagging only behind Hawaii. Doesn't quite add up, does it? But we the consumers are to blame, right? I know with that Martial Arts studio you're using a lot of muscle and physical dexterity. You may wish to try stimulating that gray matter a little bit.
BA November 08, 2011 at 04:04 PM
You said it. I can't stand the blame game. This was a wake up call for us. The weather could have been allot worse. We have had beautiful warm days in the aftermath. By the way, where were the state workers? Oh yea cleaning up on the side of the highways where there were no houses.
Maria Giannuzzi November 08, 2011 at 09:40 PM
The rugged individualist solution may work for those with substantial resources (generators, gasoline, fireplaces and firewood, automobiles, chain saws, extra food, youth, money, physical strength, camping knowledge) but it fails those with limited or no resources. And that is its flaw. It is a narrow view of reality. It conveniently neglects to seriously consider the vulnerable (including the disabled, elderly, the sick, those on oxygen). It also fails to impose any responsbility on a utility that has been granted a monopoly because electricity is considered a necessity. Saying we should reach out to take care of those who can't take care of themselves is a nice sentiment, but unfortunately, many of the vulnerable will lose out. The ones we can't get around to taking care of. What happens to them?
Elaine November 09, 2011 at 12:25 AM
Mike~I don't think the message was "how nice, no power, let's talk kids". I more think the person that said that means, it's nice to have time to slow down and reconnect once in awhile from our crazy schedules with kids. And yes, CL&P execs make WAY to much money. I'm hoping they haveto pay for all this overtime for the state workers.
hmmmthatsinteresting November 09, 2011 at 02:15 AM
Not exactly on topic, but I believe that photo is of the 2003 northeast blackout. Please give it proper credit.
Jen November 09, 2011 at 04:34 PM
Seriously??? Wow we really do live now in the land of no accountability. This is like telling someone whose loved one got killed by a drunk driver to blame the victim because hey, they chose to drive after all... Oh and all those sappy fake "oh isnt this nice to not have these poor electronics bothering us so we can be a quaint and actually have to talk to our family for once or GASP read a book" attitudes can go fly a kite. Personally, I take time each day to read, hang with my hubby and kids, and do other activities besides suck on the power teat. But ya know, I still pay for electricity through the nose so gee I sure would be nice to talk to my family without the roar of a generator drounding us out at an extra 50 bucks a day, or gee read that afformentioned book by the light I pay for each day rather than a candle... So I ask you this to the person who wrote this piece of drivel, do you have a second job as a pr person for CL&P because you sure write like you do.
Mike Kinghorn November 09, 2011 at 08:47 PM
how about this.we will stop the "blame game" when cl&p plays the "lets run a power company correctly game"there is a reason for the concept of blame,it's to let someone know they have done wrong.if we as a state took the attitude of "the heck with it i'll make do" cl&p would get worse at what they do not better.you would correct an errant child for misbehaviour without thought.cl&p is no different.
Paul November 09, 2011 at 09:20 PM
Jen - You Go Girl!
M. Troy November 09, 2011 at 10:00 PM
This is the comment. And I want to add after everthing is said and done NOTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN!!! Everything will be the same, maybe acouple of people will get early retirement but thats about it. YOU ARE SO RIGHT JEN!!!! WE pay for services while they take..
Maria Giannuzzi November 10, 2011 at 01:38 PM
I still have not gotten a response to my question about what happens to the vulnerable who we do not get around to helping during a prolonged power outage. And what about individuals who are too proud to call for or accept help? Or refuse to leave their pets? Or do not have working telephones? A public utility that is granted a monopoly because its "product" electricity is considered a necessity needs to be held accountable.
Mike Kinghorn November 10, 2011 at 04:15 PM
he sure does.he should stick to giving children colorful belts and breaking pine boards and stuff.
Edie November 11, 2011 at 03:55 PM
People who chose not to accept help put their own lives in danger they made a choice. My understanding the towns that had shelters for people did a wonderful job, and no one is saying CL&P is perfect by anymeans but if people thought their lights were going to be on in 3 to 4 days they must have had their heads in the clouds. Accross this country our infastructer is terrible and that needs to be worked on fast. But you also have to look at the way your state and towns reacted to this storm to. And Joel is right some people need to stop and do what they can for themselves. My 10 year old granddaughter and her parents that live way out has no generator but were prepared for both storms Irene and this one and did fine. And they accepted help when given. We have forgotten how to take care of ourselves
Maria Giannuzzi November 11, 2011 at 04:24 PM
I wouldn't be so quick to let CL&P off the hook. So what does happen to the people who refuse help during a prolonged power outage? The ones who make the wrong choice. Are they eliminated from the human race? I truly would like an answer. And what about the elderly or disabled who don't have cars or working phones? Do they have a choice? How many of you apologists and rugged individualists went to those senior housing complexes without working phones to inform the elderly about their "choices"?
Edie November 11, 2011 at 05:15 PM
No one is letting CL&P off the hook. They took to long to get started and information and communication was certainly lacking. But those that make a choice should not complain which a lot did. Do they belong to the human race of course they do but there still has to be some responsibilty to themselves and to others who care about them. Why make people worry about you if you don't have to? To prove what? The town of Manchester does a very good job with it's elderly and disabled people, But we as a community also need to do our part, does someone need to use a phone, do they need food, do they need a ride to get out of their situation? If we don't check on our neighbors than we are all at fault. A suggestion was made about all senior complexes must be equipt with generators this is a great idea. The next storm we have could be like some of the tornados they got down south that would make our 11 days without lights seem like a breeze.
M. Troy November 11, 2011 at 05:21 PM
Theres alot more than just moving into a shelter if your disabled. I have 21 meds I take and 4 of them type narcotics. And the only reason I was going was they would not deliver my oxygen. Than I had to leave my cat and dog home. Lucly after the 5th day I got a generator to run my oxygen.And by the way they forced me I had no choice when they said they would not deliver. I will not ever be pushed in that corner again.
Edie November 11, 2011 at 08:18 PM
You are lucky you got your heat and electric on within 5 days a lot better than most people. It's great you got a generator to help with your oxygen and to keep any medications refrigerated if needed. No one ever said life is easy, and we all must at times make difficult decisions but we cannot depend on organizations like CL&P or any large organization/corporations to help us or tell us the truth, they do not seem to have our best interest at heart. My point is we need to take some responsibilty with ourselves and our neighbors to get through bad times, it seems like you did just that.
M. Troy November 11, 2011 at 09:59 PM
I will always help my nieghbor before me. That was something that my old man taught me along time ago. Somme of you might not believe it but your older nieghbors come first. Lets not get away from the responsibility. CL&P if they didn't lie or over exagerate things would have been better. The weather worked for us and if you could drive you could have found food. Housing , forget it I still can't believe that almost if not all hotel rooms were taken. I am just writing to keep this issue alive and nobody forgets how bad a job the utility companys did. Keep talking and keep the wounds hurting!!!!!!!!
Edie November 11, 2011 at 10:07 PM
I always offer help to, I am in the over sixty group of people. You are right, as a people we need to hold organizations responsible wether it is the electric company or other corporations such as banks, etc. We do pay their wages and they owe us respect.
M. Troy November 11, 2011 at 10:26 PM
Sorry I'm not 60 but close thank you.Edie you are totally right on taking care of ourselves. I said before I'll take care of myself but for years the utilities have taken from us and not given back. In one of these blogs I complained and I still complain that the Utilities should be investing some profits into Research and Development. I looked into a woman's suggestion that there annual reports tell us this. But I could really find any real money put towards this. Our State has let us down considerably in this. I am now looking into the state giving utility co. free reign
Maria Giannuzzi November 11, 2011 at 10:41 PM
I think we agree more than we disagree on this point. But we must take a wider view and recognize that not everyone has the resources to deal with a prolonged power outage. And keep in mind there were many people who lost substantial income because they could not go to work or take care of their business interests. It is unlikely they will be able to make up this loss. We truly must walk in another person's shoes before we can understand them and their lives.

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