TORRINGTON, CONN. (Nov. 4, 1:25 p.m. ET) — The Nor'easter that rattled New England over the weekend cut power and caused more than a few companies to ponder how to keep communications open when disaster strikes.
The Saturday night storm dumped an icy, heavy snow on southern New England which tore down trees and power lines, blocking roads and wiping out most communication, including land-line and cell phones as well as cable television and computer hookups.
Reconstruction proved to be a slow process. Early Thursday, Nov. 3, reports from Connecticut utilities said that more than 416,000 residents were still without power. In Massachusetts, the number was over 143,000, according to multiple reports.
“We're still without power. We shut down Saturday night, but we're expecting power today [Thursday],” said Victor Morando, vice president of engineering of Dymotek Corp. in Ellington, Conn.
He said one of the company's buildings does have power, and the firm has been able to do some non-molding operations like assembly. But most of the company, like the surrounding town, is just waiting for the lights to come on.
Morando said Dymotek has had a contingency plan for emergencies for quite some time, and this provided a solid test. He said the company has stayed in contact with customers, and it has not found any shortages.
The company set up a separate gmail account so that employees could communicate with company officials, and that they “will be revising it further.”
The storm created havoc with communications, noted Verna Moran, vice president of human resources, at Seitz Corp, in Torrington, Conn.
“We've had some big storms. Usually we close for the storm and then we're back the following day. Many of our people didn't have phones and power,” she said, noting that the company was closed Monday and Tuesday, opening Wednesday, Nov. 2.
She said that in her area about 25 inches of snow fell. Because of the lack of power, they were unable to tell people not to come to work. Then, when the company reopened, some took longer to find out.
At Quest Plastics Inc. in Torrington, the company lost power Saturday night, according to President Jim Bean. The firm was idle until Wednesday, Nov. 2.
Bean agreed that communications was a major problem, “There wasn't any way to communicate with the outside world,” he said.
He added, “Everyone wants a paycheck, so we are going to run a shift on Saturday, so they make up some pay.”
Quest molds for the cosmetic, fragrance and aerosol industries.
Over in Clinton, Mass, Nypro Inc. communications chief Al Cotton said his company had no problems, although there were outages in the region. He credited work with utility provider National Grid over the years to insure the company was prepared. A lot of the company's main utility lines are underground.