Connecticut utilities were preparing Monday afternoon for the probability of shutting down power substations along the shoreline, with predictions that high tide would cause unprecedented flooding at the facilities built to withstand a 100-year flood.
"At 11 feet, or anywhere near 11 feet, we're going to lose power stations, we're going to lose sewer treatment facilities, we're going to do some long-term damage to the state of Connecticut," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said at a noontime news briefing. "We are still planning for 11 feet."
Malloy said a favorable wind shift allowed the state to escape the morning's high tide with only minor flooding at two Bridgeport substations, and both kept operating.
But United Illuminating vice president Tony Marone said, despite their best efforts, it is probable the company will have to shut one or two stations down Monday night, a move that would affect about 40,000 customers. United Illuminating is a subsidiary of UIL Holdings Corp.
"We have sand bags, we've silicone-sealed the doors to the substations, we've got pumps in there to protect the control room," he said.
Bill Quinlan, a senior vice president at Connecticut Light & Power said his company began building a dike Monday around its Stamford substation in an attempt to prevent flooding there. He said the company, a unit of Northeast Utilities, also is concerned about its Branford substation, but is not anticipating major problems at either facility.
More than 38,000 CL& P customers and 17,000 UI customers were without electricity as of 2:30 p.m.
Quinlin said his company has about 400 of its own line crews and 1,060 contractors ready to respond to the storm. He said the utility is soliciting about another 1,000 outside line workers to help with what it expects will be a major restoration effort.