Big storms: Why not share information?

When things are a mess, and people are anxious — as in the wake of Storm Sandy — communication is of heightened importance.

CL&P and its workers — the linemen and tree crews from near and far — as well as the town and its many good people, both workers and volunteers, deserve everyone’s thanks. They worked long and hard under very tough circumstances. Work crews made steady progress on a very nasty situation, clearing roads of trees and wires, putting up new poles, hanging wires, getting power back to people. The town folks got the shelter set up and welcomed people for showers, coffee, overnight stays. The rec center even took in pets.

Thanks, everyone. It wasn’t easy, and of course it wasn’t all smooth, but you did a lot for the people you serve. People worked with dedication that was inspiring.

But the communication needs to be better — especially from CL&P. First Selectmen Rudy Marconi sent out his “Everbridge” phone chats, and held daily press briefings. Updates went out on the Internet. Town volunteers took phone calls. However, the information that people wanted most  wasn’t shared.

Yes, perhaps after last year’s broken promises, the state’s utilities are shy of making bold predictions. But how about at least telling the folks in town what areas are crews working on? What’s the plan? Where may power be restored next?

Of course CL&P, or the first selectmen, can’t say exactly when each little neighborhood will get power back. But it’s hard to understand why they couldn’t give people a much better idea what’s going on: These are the areas we’re working on now; here’s where we’ll start working next.

The work goes slowly. It’s frustrating for everyone. Crews and trucks sit and wait to go out because they have to be told where to go, what to do. They’re dealing with electricity, it can kill people, and crews can’t be running around willy-nilly, fixing lines and powering them up. Someone has to be in control and know where everyone is working, what lines are hot, what aren’t, where power’s coming on. Someone has to dispatch the crews.

Why not share that dispatch information with the customers in the cold and dark, waiting?

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