HARTFORD, Conn. — Utility crews have been slower to fix Northeast power outages caused by last weekend's record-setting snowstorm than they were after Hurricane Irene and its remnants because they had less time to prepare, a U.S. Department of Energy official said Tuesday.
Bill Bryan, a deputy assistant secretary for the agency, said during a stop in hard-hit Connecticut that he was monitoring the mutual aid response that has sent thousands of extra workers into the region.
The freak October snowstorm knocked out power to 3 million homes and businesses from Maryland to Maine. About 1.6 million customers remained without power Tuesday.
Bryan says utility companies didn't have time to get additional workers from other regions in place before the snowstorm like they were able to do before Irene in August. The companies had several days to prepare for Irene and only a few days to prepare for the snowstorm, which hit the region harder than was forecast. At midweek last week, some forecasters said the storm was going to miss New England.
Thousands of extra crews from across the country are now helping to restore power in the Northeast, where some utility customers aren't expected to get their electricity back until next week.