CHESHIRE, Conn. — Eversource continues to try to restore power to the hundreds of thousands of customers without it. Eversource has returned power to about 360,000 people. For the rest still wondering when the lights will come back on, Eversource says most customers will have power restored by 11:59 pm Tuesday.
Main intersections and populated areas are a top priority for Eversource. South Main Street in Cheshire meets that criteria but remains dark.
"We were told at least a few days and that was yesterday," said Stephanie Clayson. "That’s the only update we’ve had from anybody."
Clayson co-owns Sweet Claude's Ice Cream shop. Two donated generators hum outside their shop to run only two of their 16 freezers. Their patience melting away with their product.
"Unfortunately not all the ice cream made it. Darwinism, but we were able to save a bunch," said co-owner Kelly-Ann Pearce. "When we’re ready to open we will still have all the good stuff that everybody wants."
Their shop remains closed like many other businesses on South Main Street without power. A pandemic, coupled with this multi-day power outage handed Sweet Claude's a double scoop of misfortune during what would usually a sweet time for their business.
"We’ve been hit pretty badly by this," said Clayson. "This is not something that a small business can recover from but we’re certainly going to try."
Over 75% of Eversource customers in Cheshire remain without power. Eversource tried to cut that number down by addressing the mangled power lines on Reservoir Road. Crews worked to remove trees resting on lines in hopes of returning power to a couple thousand people.
"We brought in crews from all over the region including the Midwest, Canada, Illinois, Detroit. We are getting crews from Pennsylvania," said Craig Hallstrom.
Hallstrom is the President of Electric Operations for Eversource. He says they have 700 crews working on main traffic areas and smaller neighborhoods. By Thursday they will have 1,200. The decision to bring in more crews came Tuesday after assessing double the amount of damage they predicted.
"We operate the system well. We maintain the system well. In a case like this when you have trees actually fall over, the systems not gonna stop that tree from keeping the lights on," said Hallstrom.
Putting those lights back on comes at a significant financial cost. One that may be showing up in customers delivery charges in the future.
"At some point the cost of this storm will go into customer bills, yes," said Hallstrom.
Eversource says they are staging the thousands of workers from the region at Lake Compounds before sending them to tackle different towns. Even with the extra manpower, some outages will continue into next week.
"I’m very confident that by the end of the weekend we will have a very large chunk of the customers restored and we will be working on the smaller neighborhoods," said Hallstrom.