Tropical Storm Henri Bears Down on New England, Me

And it seems like the region’s largest power utility is once again unprepared.

John Minchillo/AP

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I’m writing to you from southern New England, where Tropical Storm Henri is due to make landfall in the next several hours. We’ve prepared the best we can: cleared the storm drains of debris, charged all our devices, picked up some emergency supplies, the whole bit.

Forecasts here are calling for an intense, soaking rain—6 or more inches in some areas—and winds that could reach as high as 75 mph. That’s bad enough, but when you add on top of that the 4 to 5 inches of rain that flooded basements and stranded motorists on Thursday, you can see why folks here are primed for swampy conditions, downed trees, and blackouts. Especially blackouts.

As it turns out, the region’s biggest power utility, Eversource, hasn’t inspired much confidence over the years, despite prep porn tweets like this one:

On Saturday, the company said that 50 to 69 percent of its 1.25 million customers in Connecticut could lose power. Not only that, but the effort to get things back online could take between 8 and 21 days.

Losing power sucks. Losing power ahead of a super-humid heat wave sucks extra hard. Losing power for up to three weeks because your famously unprepared utility company is potentially unprepared again? Stares out window at coming storm, resists blowing the shit out of emergency whistle.

That’s right: Eversource doesn’t exactly have a great track record. In fact, earlier this year, state regulators proposed the maximum fine possible—$30 million—for the company’s failure to prepare for and respond to Tropical Storm Isaias in August 2020. (Eversource and another fined utility, United Illuminating, have appealed the decision.)

So…I guess we’ll see how it goes? Here’s hoping I don’t end up looking like this dude come tomorrow.

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