Bethel Emergency Management Outage Update: “I do not have many answers.” Presently 489 Residents Still Without Power

Report by Paula Antolini, December 24, 2022, 11:05A EDT

Presently 489 Bethel residents are still without power today, according to Eversource reports, with no signs in sight for relief.

On this Christmas Eve and Hanukkah weekend, and with Kwanzaa beginning on Monday, temperatures remain in the teens since yesterday, dipping into the single digits overnight. Many families are struggling to keep warm, some have a house full of relatives visiting for the holidays, but entertaining them is not not the main focus, keeping from freezing is, especially concerning seniors and babies/toddlers.

People are expressing their frustration on social media, and in our conversations with them, indicating they are feeling abandoned, and stating, “No one is running the town.” A Bethel mom posted, “I just put many more blankets on the icy cold hands of my two year old granddaughter at 2am who was just screaming. Where are you people????”

Unlike in past years’ emergencies, where the CJH Municipal Center offered cots to sleep on and showers (Red Cross monitoring) and even a place to bring pets (via CTSART, the volunteer Connecticut Emergency Response Team, no longer in service), along with charging stations, this time the CJH Municipal Center is closed. So what is happening?

Who is responsible to answer for this disaster in not providing minimal services to keep residents safe? Why did town officials lay this entire burden on our small volunteer fire departments to handle, and not open and staff the town center? Surely they had enough warning about this impending storm. Surely they had experience from the last time Eversource left residents without power for days, that was never supposed to happen again.

There is no information on the town website regarding outage updates or solutions. If residents are not on the internet and able to view other sites such as Facebook or Twitter etc. for the latest information (if any) they are kept in the dark … literally! So far, the only services offered were for charging stations and a warm place to go, from the Bethel Library (only open until 5pm) and Fire Department (open until 8pm) yesterday, but nothing for overnight. The fire department continues to try and help residents today, but what residents need most is power to heat their homes. Residents have also stated all local hotels are booked.

This frustration is echoed by Bethel Emergency Management, who is also having trouble getting some answers regarding a time frame, or solutions to resolve the outage issues quickly, as shown in their recent statement below:

Bethel Emergency Management posted a Facebook message to residents one hour ago today:

“We hear our Bethel residents concerns who are still without power this morning. It has been very frustrating on our end as well with limited and inaccurate information coming from Eversource CT. We asked about a Global Restoration Time and they have not released one.

“I do not have many answers. Crews should be working on the largest outage in Stony Hill (197) which is the Rte 6/Old Hawleyville area. I am told that a restoration estimate for this area is 2:30 PM.

“The Rockwell Rd. area is a separate circuit. No estimate for that one as of yet.

“We have been working with our liaison to get crews into town and clear these outages.

“We have just been assigned a public safety specialist (new program w Eversource) to make safe (disconnect any live wires in trees or on ground) and open any blocked roads. The only true blocked road with no access for first responder vehicles is Mtn. Orchard off Nashville Rd. The PSS is enroute to assess and get a crew there.

“We will update as information is available. The Stony Hill FD community room is open for warming, bathrooms, and charging.”



The following was just posted by Bethel Emergency Management:

“This is fresh from our State of CT regional emergency management office for restoration times from @eversource. 1159pm tonight.”