Three schools in Naugatuck are still without power as of Tuesday evening, drawing into question whether or not there would be any impact to the first day of school for students on Thursday.
As of 6 p.m. Tuesday evening, Hillside Intermediate School as well as Western and Hop Brook elementary schools still have no power. Cross Street School, which previously lacked power, was restored by Tuesday morning, said Superintendent John Tindall-Gibson.
The district still plans on opening school for all the roughly 4,000 students of Naugatuck on Thursday, but that, again, is contingent on whether CL&P has power running in all of the schools, Tindall-Gibson said.
“The only talk is that we can’t open school until they get power to those buildings,” he said.
But as it stands, teachers and staff are still due to report Wednesday and kindergarten orientation is still slated for Wednesday afternoon. (For information on a specific school’s oreitnation, visit www.naugy.net).
According to an alert available on Maple Hill School's website, schools that don’t have power will still hold orientations. In the same posting, school officials are to report at 9 a.m. at Naugatuck High School for a four-hour day, starting with a meeting at Naugatuck High School.
Approximately 3,700 Naugatuck customers, or 26 percent of the borough, are still without power as of Tuesday night. By comparison, however, many other towns are worse off, as 400,000 customers still lack electricity statewide.
CL&P President Jeff Butler said during a press briefing Tuesday that 900 CL&P work crews are crossing the state and 300 more crews will be in Connecticut by Friday. Some are coming from as far away as Seattle and Vancouver. A crew is a two-man team, which means the utility company will have a total of 2,400 employees working to restore power, Butler said.
Butler said CL&P is refocusing its restoration efforts through its main work centers in Cheshire and Torrington, which serve 26 towns in those areas.
“We’re starting to see towns come back online,” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who led the briefing in the Emergency Operations Center at the State Armory in Hartford.
By Saturday, Butler said, there should be fewer than 100,000 CL&P customers left without power and that everyone’s power will be back on by next Wednesday at the latest. The focus of the restoration effort now, he said, is shifting toward getting town centers electricity so they can start serving their communities with essential services “so you will have a gas station, grocery stores, restaurants and pharmacies.”
In terms of the schools, municipalities in the immediate area are bracing for this long haul. , , and have reportedly pushed the first day of school until after Labor Day. As of Tuesday, Naugatuck hasn't said it would go this route.
Starting tonight, CL&P is expected to report progress on a real time basis. According to a tweet the company sent out, “We will begin posting restoration projects later tonight starting with the Western part of the state where damage was less severe.”
Tindall-Gibson said he didn’t know specifically whether the schools would be back online. He said he doesn’t know enough about the company’s procedures to guess.
“We certainly reached out to them,” he said. “Our facilities engineers tried, the mayor has tried but you just can’t get them to commit to any time to putting those buildings back online.”
He added, “It’s not like we haven’t made the efforts. We realize there’s 4,000 kids with parents who would like to know.”
When reached for a comment, CL&P spokesman Katie Blint referred specific inquiries about the school situation to the town officials. Blint reiterated, however, that restoring power to schools, wastewater treatment plants and other facilities are a “critical focus area for us right now.”
“We’re working as hard as we can, we restored a lot of customers today,” Blint said. “We are projecting by Saturday we’ll have less than 100,000 customers without power.”
Some other points on the recovery:
- Around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, around 300 people lost power in Naugatuck, jumping out the total outage percent from 21 to 26 percent. But this is “normal,” Blint said, as “some customers will experience outages after they’ve been restored.
“There are fluctuations to be expected,” she said.
- will be open again on Wednesday, Aug. 31, for residents who want to obtain drinking water from the cafeteria and/or take a shower in the gym lockers. Residents must bring their own containers.
Editor’s Note: Patch Regional Editor Eileen McNamara contributed to this report.