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Still Hovering Around 50%, Four Days After Isaias



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UPDATE (Sunday, August 9, 2020): This story has been update to reflect who responded to the August 8 incident in Pootatuck Park .

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Four days after Tropical Storm Isaias, just about 50 percent of Newtown remains without electricity.

Eversource — already taking heat for its lack of preparation for the storm as well as its poor response — did not earn any new fans in Newtown Saturday. It was tough enough to hear from their first selectman a day earlier that there was not a single Eversource crew in town on Thursday night.

Then on Saturday residents learned that Newtown is near the bottom of the restoration list. When the utility announced its restoration estimates around 1 pm August 8, there was Newtown, toward the end of the line.

Newtown. Tuesday, August 11, Noon.

That’s what residents saw when they visited the utility’s website.

Very few towns had later dates, although a few neighboring towns did fare worse. Bethel and Monroe’s estimates are 6 pm Tuesday; Danbury’s is midnight Tuesday.

At 5 pm Saturday, 5,579 of Newtown’s 11,460 Eversource customers — or 48.68 percent of the town — was heading toward another night without power.

In a CodeRED message Friday evening, First Selectman Dan Rosenthal said Newtown is not alone in its struggle to become reenergized.

“My counterparts in other communities are having a similar experience with a lack of communication and, more importantly, results, but I am hopeful that the clarity I received this afternoon is a harbinger of things to come," he said in part.

Hours earlier Rosenthal had been given a specific lists of roads that Eversource crews — or their contracted support crews — would begin working on.

At the time of his third CodeRED in as any evenings, the first selectman said “slow progress” had been made. The total number of outages dropped from 65% on Thursday to 55% on Friday, and the number of fully blocked roads was at 40, down from 44.

“Certainly not an achievement worthy of a victory lap, however there is reason for hope,” Rosenthal said.

He also acknowledged should all 23 of the roads on the list provided by Eversource be put back online Saturday, it would account for “roughly 1,000 homes online, bringing total outages to around 45%. Not music to everyone’s ears, but for the first time I am finally getting specific work area information from Eversource,” he said.

Restoration Road Schedule

The lucky roads listed on Friday night were as follows:

Jordan Hill, Bradley, Nutmeg, Honey, Serenity, South Main, Brushy Hill, Baldwin, Juniper, Sugar Street and Sugar Lane, Roosevelt, Lincoln, Deep Brook, Head O’ Meadow, Boulevard, Queen, Joan, Old Gate, Cedar Hill, Glen Road, Walnut Tree and Shady Rest.

Meanwhile, Newtown Police Department offered a reminder on its Facebook page Friday that its officers are helping. Two officers spent much of hours using the department’s Hummer to canvas the town, getting to roads that were still blocked.

Police officers delivered food and water to residents stuck on many of those blockages.

Residents were reminded that they could contact the PD with concerns about family members, friends, neighbors, et al.

“We will certainly do our best to help them or direct them where they might find the help,” the department said on its post.

The non-emergency number of Newtown Police is 203-426-5841.

A full list of resources — including information on where to fill up on potable water, use a charging station, food disposal locations, etc — has also been published by the Town. The full list is available here.

Treat Lines As Live, Always

In a dire warning to heed what officials repeat, over and over, following such storms — treat all downed wires as if they are live — a dog in Sandy Hook died Saturday morning after finding its way onto such a scene.

A dog in Pootatuck Park could not be saved after it touched a downed power line that turned out to be alive.

Firefighters were sent to the scene. Eversource was routed at its highest priority, but the dog died.

Button Shop Road was still closed Saturday morning between its intersection with Little Brook, as seen here, and Toddy Hill Road-Botsford Hill Road. The handwritten sign says "NOPE. You can't get they-a from he-a. You have to leave from somewhere else." —Bee Photo, Hicks
The highlighted section of this map, pulled from the Eversource website, shows Newtown at 4:16 pm Saturday, August 8, when 48.68% of the town was still without power fou days after Tropical Storm Isiais.
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