Joined: Feb 2012
Machine: PR System One REMstar Auto (DS560)
Mask Type: Nasal pillows
Mask Make & Model: ResMed Mirage Swift II
CPAP Pressure: 12.5 - 18.5 cmH20 (auto range)
CPAP Software: SleepyHead
Other Comments: Have diabetes Type II
Location: Illinois, USA
RE: WARNING to CPAP Users: PREPARE for the Unexpected; When the power goes out
ApneaNews Wrote:Frustrated Greater Danbury officials prepare to storm power company
by Robert Miller
John McAuliffe of Ridgefield suffers from sleep apnea. He can get a good night's sleep if he's wearing his CPAP -- continuous positive airway pressure -- mask and the device is plugged in.
But McAuliffe lives in a town that is without electricity, thanks to Hurricane Irene. There's little hope of seeing power restored by week's end.
So he has to find a place that has power. He has a hotel room in Danbury for two nights but isn't sure where he'll stay next.
"For me, it's dire," McAuliffe said Tuesday, heading to Ridgefield's emergency shelter at the Yanity Gym. "And I know it is for others."
But Northeast Utilities -- the utility that supplies power to much of the state -- doesn't have enough crews in the area, and isn't keeping the crews on the job long enough, area town leaders said Tuesday. As a result, people like McAuliffe are left scrambling.
"It's painstakingly slow," said First Selectman Rudy Marconi of Ridgefield, where 85 percent of the town is still without power. While sections of Route 35 in the Copps Hill commercial area got power Tuesday, Main Street, Route 7, and all the neighborhoods adjoining them were still powerless.
As a result, Marconi called Tuesday for a face-to-face meeting this week with area town leaders, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and NU officials, to learn why NU has responded to Irene in the area in the way it has.
"We need crews," Marconi said. "The level of frustration is growing."
In response, NU spokeswoman Janine Saunders said NU now has 800 crews working to restore power in the state.
"It's a long-term restoration effort to a lot of devastation," Saunders said.
And, Saunders said, people should remember that the devastation wasn't confined to Connecticut. Extra crews are needed up and down the East Coast, she said.
"It was a U.S. storm, an East Coast storm, a Canadian storm," Saunders said.
But such explanations don't always cut it with people used to living with electricity.
"I think you can see by our faces, this is Day Three," said Janet Jacobs wryly, as she filled water jugs at the Yanity Gym.
"It's amazing what we take for granted," said Kathy Lang, who with her daughter, Elizabeth, was going to the newly reopened Parks and Recreation center in Ridgefield for hot showers. "Lights, power, water, phones, the Internet."
Because of the unhappiness of the people in their towns, Mayor Mark Boughton and Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra said Tuesday that if Marconi can arrange such a meeting, they'll be there.
"We understand this situation," Boughton said of Irene, whose winds and rain disconnected about half the state from the power grid.
But Boughton said Danbury, which has about a third of its homes without power, has been left waiting for NU crews to arrive. The utility's delay frustrates people, he said, who then sound off to elected officials.
"My phone has been ringing off the hook," Boughton said.
"I've been tearing out my hair," said Llodra. Seventy-five percent of her town was without power after the storm. Llodra said it took her six hours of phone calling to get five NU trucks to Newtown to supplement the two that were there.
But Llodra said she doesn't expect the crews to restore power to much of the town until Thursday or Friday at the earliest.
"I feel for people," said Llodra, who has no power in her home. "It's very frustrating. I'm living it."
State Sen. Michael McLachlan, R-Danbury, called the power company's response "abysmal" in a letter he wrote to the president of Connecticut Light & Power Tuesday.
"As of this morning, I have seen very little service response from Connecticut Light & Power in the towns making up Western Connecticut, especially Danbury, New Fairfield, Sherman and the Stony Hill neighborhood of Bethel," McLachlan wrote. "Such a response, or rather the lack thereof, is completely unacceptable to the people who pay to utilize your services."
New Fairfield First Selectman John Hodge said Tuesday, "The numbers don't add up.
"I want to see a list of the allotment of their crews," Hodge said. "We don't have them here. It's incredibly frustrating."
Hodge said the town of New Fairfield had the same problem with NU in June, when a concentrated, wild storm downed many trees there.
And Marconi said all the towns in the region face the same problems with NU, year after year.
"It's something we complain about," he said. "There are hearings and reports. Nothing ever happens."
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