Power restored to two-thirds of Ridgefield energy customers

State Rep. John Frey says the state should look at breaking up Eversource, and State Senator Will Haskell called for closer regulation of the utility.

State Rep. John Frey says the state should look at breaking up Eversource, and State Senator Will Haskell called for closer regulation of the utility.

Macklin Reid / Hearst Connecticut Media

RIDGEFIELD — Nearly two-thirds of Ridgefield customers have had electrical power restored.

Eversource, the electric utility serving the area, reported around 5:30 p.m. Monday that 3,954 — or just under 36 percent of its 10,988 Ridgefield customers — remained without electrical service.

Eversource is also sticking with its prediction that Ridgefield and most of Connecticut will have all power back by midnight Tuesday.

“Eversource’s battalion of line and tree crews continue working non-stop to restore power and, in some cases, rebuild the electric system after the widespread, historic damage caused by tropical storm Isaias,” the company said in a news release. “While adhering to strict COVID-19 safety protocols, crews have restored power to more than 80,000 since yesterday and expect restoration to the nearly 75,000 customers still without power to be substantially complete by Tuesday at 11:59 p.m.”

Both Republicans and Democrats continue attacking Eversource for its response to the massive power outages causes by the storm Isaias. In a statement Monday afternoon, Ridgefield’s Republican state Rep. John Frey called upon legislators to look at breaking up the big utility company.

“While this action could be viewed as retaliatory, it is not. Eversource has become a multistate conglomerate,” Frey said. “In addition to providing electric service to 149 Connecticut towns, it also owns the natural gas provider and recently acquired the Aquarian Water Utility. The focus appears to have shifted from the days of the former Connecticut Light and Power. It’s proven that it’s gotten too big to deliver reliable service.”

Frey said the sheer footprint of the company’s customer base would make it difficult to break up, “but it’s not impossible.”

State Sen. Will Haskell, a Democrat whose seven-town 26th District includes all of Ridgefield, called for tighter regulation of the utility in an opinion column.

“Eversource’s stock valuation has nearly tripled from 2011 to 2020, the company pulled down nearly $1 billion in net profits last year, CEO Jim Judge made $11 million in 2019 alone — and Eversource’s performance in a major storm is... worse than ever,” Haskell said. “It’s time to hold Eversource accountable through increased oversight and regulation. Eversource should be required to dedicate a staff member to work directly with each town’s Emergency Operations Center. Before storms arrive, ‘Make Safe’ crews should be deployed to areas that will be impacted. And customer relations officials should be in regular communication with those who are experiencing outages.”

First Selectman Rudy Marconi voiced the town’s frustrations in a call to homes around Ridgefield on Monday evening.

“Many calls received today have been from people frustrated by the lack of information from Eversource,” Marconi said. “I share your frustration. I’ve spoken with the governor multiple times, demanded additional information from Eversource and I’ve spoken with an attorney about possible legal action. I know this does not get your power back. We continue to fight for compete restoration.”

With heat wave underway, he said, people may call 203-431-2350 or contact the Ridgefield Office of Emergency Management on Facebook for help.

Charging, cooling, Wi-Fi

The town office of emergency management on Monday also outlined services available at four relief sites.

The Parks and Recreation building at 195 Danbury Road is offering showers from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday night. The last showers will start at 9:30 and people must be out by 10.

The Parks & Rec building and Founders Hall will offer several services, including a charging station on the porch of Founders Hall (193 Danbury Road). Wi-Fi is available outdoors in vicinity of both buildings.

St. Stephen’s Church and its North Hall building will offer Wi-Fi, cooling and charging from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday. More information is available at 203-431-3789.

Jesse Lee Methodist Church, Main Street and King Lane has Wi-Fi, cooling and charging available in the carriage house at 21 King Lane. More information is available by calling 203-313-4499.

The Ridgefield Library is offering Wi-Fi all day outdoors, and charging from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at its lower level.

Informational hotlines have been set up by the town. A line at 203-431-2350 will operate from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, and 203-431-2718 will operate between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“Due to call volume, we ask for your patience,” said Gerri Lewis, public information officer with the town Office of Emergency Management.