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Elsa Is Expected Friday. Utilities Don’t Want A Repeat Of Isaias.

This GOES-16 GeoColor satellite image taken Tuesday, July 6, 2021, at 5:50 p.m. EDT, and provided by NOAA, shows Tropical Storm Elsa in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.
NOAA via AP
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This GOES-16 GeoColor satellite image taken Tuesday, July 6, 2021, at 5:50 p.m. EDT, and provided by NOAA, shows Tropical Storm Elsa in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.

Tropical Storm Elsa is expected to reach coastal Connecticut and Long Island early Friday morning.

“We are watching that like a hawk,” Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said. “Our emergency operation center will at least partially be activated. I like to think that the rains and winds have dissipated. If you can stay home, stay home.”

Wind gusts of more than 30 miles per hour, downed tree limbs and floods along the shoreline are likely, according to a National Weather Service tropical storm warning for the region.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal wants to make sure Eversource is prepared to deal with any major outages. Blumenthal called on utility companies to avoid a repeat of Tropical Storm Isaias last year.

"The consequences of failure if there is a repeat of that cataclysmic disaster will be severe,” he said.

Customers across the Northeast lost power following that storm with some not getting it back for more than a week. Blumenthal said he hopes utilities will have better communication and response times for Elsa.

Eversource said in a statement that they cannot prevent outages but their crews are prepared to respond. They said Blumenthal’s comments “create unnecessary fear for customers.”

PSEG Long Island crews also said they are ready to respond to scattered power outages. After the Isaias response, Long Island Power Authority now plans to negotiate its service contract with PSEG Long Island to demand better customer service and increase penalties for poor performance.

PSEG Long Island was blamed for its failed communication system during Isaias.

During Elsa, if necessary, the utility company may use an enhancement to their outage communications system. Customers contacting the call center (1-800-490-0075) would receive a message that personnel are assessing conditions, rather than an estimated time of restoration. They said this change will allow crews to assess storm impact before saying when power would be restored.

“High winds can send debris flying, topple trees and bring down power lines,” said Michael Sullivan, senior director of Transmission & Distribution at PSEG Long Island, in a statement. “Employees and contractors are prepared to respond to and restore any outages caused by the storm safely and as quickly as possible.”