The early winter snowstorm that hit the Northeast over Halloween weekend took a greater toll on power grids in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire than did hurricane Irene in August. And, as was the case then, the race to restore power has been slowest in Connecticut.
The storm track for hurricane Irene at least gave utilities regionwide a week to gather resources and call for backup crews from the Midwest and South. The October snowstorm, however, materialized in just a few days.
Some utilities have struggled more than others in the aftermath, according to data from the US Department of Energy's Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.
Connecticut's performance in restoring power has been slower than its performance after Irene, which was criticized at the time. In the four days after Irene, 443,000 of the 702,154 outages were restored – about 63 percent. At the time, that was the lowest percentage of any state with outages from Irene.
Damage from the storm was far more extensive than forecast, reports Connecticut Light & Power, which oversees power delivery in about 150 towns statewide.
"This will not be a 'quick fix'.... This may take more than a week to restore all of our customers," said Jeff Butler, president and chief operating officer of CL&P in a statement on Sunday. "There are reports of trees down practically everywhere."
The Connecticut Department of Transportation estimates tree damage to be five times greater than during Irene.
Overall, the snowstorm led to fewer outages than did Irene: 3.2 million residents in 10 states for the snowstorm versus 6.7 million residents in 14 states for Irene, according to the Department of Energy.
But the story in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire was different.
Similar to Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire have both been slower to restore power after the snowstorm than after Irene. Four days after Irene, Massachusetts had restored power to 90 percent of the customers who lost it, while New Hampshire had restored 98 percent.