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Stamford Storm Outage Issues: Avoid Them Before They Happen

If you have a problem tree in the area, get it cleared up before the next storm rolls through town.

By 6 p.m. Wednesday, only 56 people in Stamford remained without power following a powerful storm Tuesday night that brought driving rains, strong wind and threats of a tornado.

But in total, Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) and Stamford emergency services were juggling 60 different instances of trees reportedly falling over. Eight of those instances resulted in wires being knocked out.

"If a resident calls with an issue, an officer checks out the situation and determines if there are life-safety issues," Director of Public Safety Ted Jankowski said. "If it is determined non-life threatening, the operations is notified and a tree crew heads to the location as soon as possible to cut the tree out of the road. If wires are down, dispatch is notified and CL&P are brought in."

Wednesday afternoon, the city released a statement saying they were "working hard to clear all obstructed streets and removing all dangerous conditions in the most expeditious manner possible," but that the debris had not reached a level necessary for the city to gather it all up, stating residents would be responsible.

Please do not put out storm debris from private property. This is a home owner responsibility to dispose this material. This debris can be brought to the Katrina Mygatt Recycling Center located at 130 Magee Ave. The recycling center hours of operation are Monday - Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Saturday: 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Trees on wires are an issue in the city. Beautiful tree-lined streets turn into spoiled milk and reading by candlelight when the weather picks up. A drive down Courtland Ave. shows issues with many trees with wires running through them. CL&P Representative Al Lara needs citizens' help to find areas that need trimming, and loves when citizens call before weather creates a problem.

"What we're looking for are limbs that may be overhanging their power lines or looking for trees that are near power lines that may be showing signs of rot," Lara said. "We're looking for situations where they may interfere with trees in any way."

People who spot a problem tree on one of Stamford's streets should notify CL&P at 800.286.2000. If a tree or branches is touching wires along the road, CL&P will work as quickly as possible to remedy the situation. They also like to be notified of electrical boxes that are damaged or not functioning properly. However, some other instances have to go through different channels.

"A tree on town or state property, you'd have to contact the appropriate authority," Lara said. "[And] a wire running from an electrical box to the house is actually the homeowner's responsibility to take care of. It's something people only become aware of after something has failed. It's always a good idea to confirm with us what's your responsibility and what we can come help with."

Lara said CL&P has been working proactively with towns to clear as many trees and limbs as possible to mitigate issues caused by storms. He says dividends should be evident as they continue to clear problem areas in good weather to avoid the issues in bad.

"Were hoping it's not causing as much damage as it could've possibly caused," Lara said. 

Those that spot issues in their own neighborhoods should notify city services and CL&P now, before the seasons change and winter presents advanced issues when attempting to deal with tree-caused outages.

Jankowski reminded residents during severe weather, Stamford has it's own alert system. Those interested in signing up for notifications should head to BePreparedStamford.org. At that site, residents will also find checklists and tips for various emergency situations.

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