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Harkins: Pressure's On UI for Power Restorations

With 37 percent of Stratford in the dark, Mayor Harkins and fellow leaders say they're pushing UI.

This article was updated at 11:20 p.m. Wednesday to include the latest outage figures from United Illuminating.

Speaking to local media at the Lordship seawall Wednesday, Mayor John A. Harkins, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and State Sen. Kevin Kelly all vowed to do one thing for Stratford residents affected by Hurricane Sandy.

That promise: Keep the pressure on United Illuminating and maintain Stratford as a priority for restoration.

As of 10:48 p.m. Wednesday, 37 percent of Stratford was without power. That's roughly 8,500 households or businesses.

"We are at UI day in, day out," DeLauro said. "We need to keep the pressure up."

"I'm also reaching out to UI so that we remain on a priority list," Kelly said.

Harkins said the town has 18 tree crews at the ready, but they can't clear any fallen limbs tangled in wires until UI goes out there, tends to the wires and determines the area is safe.

Every one of UI's 17 cities and towns get 10 priorities each of their choice to be restored first, according to a post on the utility's Twitter page. Main roads are at the top of Stratford's list, Harkins said.

The mayor said UI is expected to release restoration estimates at 6 a.m. Thursday. To report an outage, call 800.722.5584.

According to Public Works Director Maurice McCarthy, Hurricane Sandy impaired between 100 and 120 trees in Stratford, and caused some level of flooding on about 80 streets. McCarthy said the worst damage at this point probably occurred at the seawall.

Long Beach was also hit hard with erosion damage, said Harkins. And the runway at Sikorsky Memorial Airport is expected to be underwater for another week, he said. "I've never seen it that flooded before," Harkins said.

Resources for Residents

Shelter -- The town reopened the shelter at Bunnell High School at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Transportation was being provided from the South End Community Center from 4 to 6 p.m. People with special needs should call 203.385.4070 to make arrangements for transportation.

Showers -- Available at the Birdseye Municipal Complex and the Stratford YMCA until 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Charging Stations -- Available at the Birdseye Municipal Complex, and at fire stations on Huntington Road, Oronoque Lane, and in Lordship. The Stratford Library is also serving as a charging station, and has Wi-Fi.

Assistance Through FEMA -- DeLauro urged residents to register with FEMA in order to be eligible for federal relief funds, both in the public and private sectors. To do so, visit www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1.800.621.3362.

Harkins said the decision to close schools for the rest of the week was made due to a lack of power at some school facilities. He said that the transfer station will be open this weekend from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., both days.

Asked what residents can do to help other residents, Harkins said to knock on doors and "get to know your neighbors."

DeLauro said she was in West Haven earlier and was introduced to a couple who opened their home to neighbors who had lost power. Harkins said similar acts by "proactive residents" are happening in Stratford.

"Be mindful of our seniors," Kelly added.

Comparing Sandy to Irene

"I think we learned from Irene," Harkins said.

He said that there was a real push to evacuate residents living in flood-prone areas. When the voluntary evacuation was upgraded to a mandatory one, Harkins said authorities revisited those areas and urged people to leave.

Walt November 01, 2012 at 12:36 AM
The cadaver only shows up because its election time
Mike Reynolds November 01, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Cadaver? I don't see Rosa DeLauro anywhere in that photo.
Kevin Weiss November 01, 2012 at 11:08 AM
Even community hurricane communication boards are filled with hateful GOP remarks. How sad.
Rockannand November 01, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Ok main st and East Broadway never lost power. Ferry and White St got power back last night BUT Elm St STILL in the dark ??? Is this some sort of joke?
james murphy November 01, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Hollister st area too
james murphy November 01, 2012 at 02:23 PM
At least the police are patrolling the area
Oreste Michael Petillo, MS, CDN November 02, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Harkins is the most honest and hard working Mayor the Town of Stratford will ever be blessed with. He works tirelessly. Regards, The Italian

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