Storm Recovery Update
I know that this has been a difficult time for so many of you over the last several days. We certainly hope to have all of Brookfield up and running within the next 36 hours. In the meantime, I wanted to update you on the situation with Eversource as many of you have expressed your frustration with them to me.
The town has been communicating with Eversource multiple times a day during the power outage. We set up our Emergency Operations team to manage our response and to coordinate with Eversource. Public Works cleared every road blockage it could by Wednesday night. There were some downed trees tangled in live wires which, for safety reasons, we can only work on coordinating with Eversource, which handles the electric lines.
The biggest problem is poor Eversource communication. They informed us early on that power would be restored by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, and despite repeated inquiries, we have not been able to get updated information. Eversource has not provided anywhere near the level of detail we expected, based on previous outages.
This has been a statewide disaster. We have been on the phone with the Governor, our state representative, our congresswoman and various Eversource representatives, but have been unable to get more information.
I have no doubt that Eversource has completely mismanaged the recovery effort. Eversource was not prepared for the severity of the storm, so was unable to handle the number of outages. They were slow to address their error and took far too long to bring in the necessary additional crews. When they finally started work late Thursday, they were unable to efficiently direct crews to work sites, so many crews sat idle waiting for instructions on where to go.
It has been extremely difficult for all of us in town to communicate with each other. Despite the CodeRED system, many residents were unable to receive calls and messages, and phone calls were difficult. We were challenged to post to the town web site. We still encourage you to sign up for CodeRED, because it will email.
Compounding this problem, Town Hall lost power Tuesday afternoon and was not restored until Friday. We lost our phone system and could not pick up messages, so we are still returning calls to residents from last week. We will petition the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance to provide funding for a new emergency generator. We need to address this now, because the forecast is that the hurricane season will be much more active this year.
We know you depend on town officials for information and guidance in emergencies, so we can’t afford to repeat this experience. The generator supplying power to the Police Department was installed in 1983, so we need to upgrade to ensure they have reliable power 100% of the time. I will propose the town purchases a new generator for police, and use the existing one as an emergency backup. The new generator installed at Center Fire in the past year has worked very well in this outage.
Until power is fully restored, please use the following resources:
Showers are available in the main YMCA building from noon to 3PM. Masks are required and they will take your temperature when you check in. We are grateful to the YMCA for being a community partner during this time.
Water, charging stations and wi-fi are available outside at Brookfield Town Hall and Brookfield Senior Center.
Water is also available at Brookfield Fire HQ and at Brookfield Police Department.
Please check the town's website for ongoing updates and information. If you have not already done so, take a minute and enroll in the Code RED Emergency notification system (phone, text or email) here.
Please continue to check on your neighbors, particularly the elderly. I want to express my thanks to everyone for their hard work and kindness to our friends and neighbors at this difficult time.