Sens. Gomes & Musto Offer Post-Irene Electric, Consumer & Business Tips:
As Bridgeport area residents continue to deal with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, state Senator Ed Gomes (D-Bridgeport, Stratford) and Senator Anthony Musto (D-Trumbull, Bridgeport, Monroe) today issued the following consolidated list of consumer, business and electric utility tips and resources.
“Irene was a tough storm, leaving many people with damaged buildings and no power. People should take care to avoid scams and unlicensed contractors as they begin home repairs. I hope this list of tips and resources is useful for folks as recovery from the storm progresses,” said Senator Gomes.
“Tropical Storm Irene caused more damage than any storm Connecticut has seen in decades. It will take some time before power is fully restored and even longer for home repairs to be planned and completed. In the mean time, I hope these resources are useful and informative,” said Senator Musto.
ADVISORY: If your home or business has experienced property damage from Tropical Storm Irene, please report those damages to the state’s free Infoline by dialing 2-1-1, or online at www.211ct.org. This data will be used to help prepare the state’s request for a disaster declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Electric Utility Information
Hundreds of Bridgeport area residents remain without power. United Illuminating workers said Thursday night that they have now fixed all of the “big” line breaks where repairing one line restores power to dozens or hundreds of homes. The remaining issues to be repaired leave an average of 8 people without power.
For anyone still in the dark, that’s not the best news, but at least it helps to explain the current situation. As of Friday morning, 31% of Monroe, 12% of Trumbull, 7% of Stratford and 5% of Bridgeport are still without power.
UI officials predict that all of Trumbull, Stratford and Bridgeport will be repowered by the end of the weekend. CL&P officials are less optimistic about Monroe, predicting it will take until Wednesday to see power back on in all households.
For the most up-to-date information on power outages in your town, use these resources:
(Note: Some of the links to Town-by-Town lists below appear to change as they are updated. If the links no longer work, you can still find the lists by going through the utility’s main website.)
Customer Service Number: 1-800-7-CALL-UI (1-800-722-5584)
United Illuminating Website
Town-by-Town Power Outage List
Tips for Consumers
· Beware of scams! Fraudulent individuals often take advantage of the chaos following a disaster. State law requires home improvement contractors to be licensed and insured.
· Check your contractor with the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) by calling 1-800-842-2649 or online at www.ct.gov/dcp
· Trees: If you have felled trees, know that arborists must be licensed by the state
· To find an arborist, visit www.kellysolutions.com/ct/index.htm or the CT Tree Protective Association at www.ctpa.org
1 For tree removal only, and no other tree work, a contractor does not need to be licensed, but any person working on your property should be able to provide written proof of insurance regarding damage and liability.
· Always insist on a written estimate before a contractor begins repairs and do not sign any contracts before an insurance adjuster has examined the damage.
0 Do not pay a contractor the full amount for work up front or sign over your insurance settlement payment. Contractors should be paid a percentage when a contract is signed and the remainder when work is completed.
1 Find more tips in a booklet entitled, “The Connecticut Home Improvement Contractor.” Call DCP at 1-800-842-2649 for a copy.
Tips for Businesses
· The August 31st tax filing deadline for the monthly sales and use tax, business use tax, and room occupancy tax has been extended to September 13th for affected businesses.
0 A comprehensive business assistance program has been established for businesses affected by the storm. Its provisions include:
· Loans up to $200,000 to repair storm-related damage
1 Loan guarantees for banks and lending institutions to help local businesses
2 Grants to businesses to help with the cost of temporary help and training
3 Technical and logistical support for other state and federal programs
4 For more information, contact the Department of Economic and Community Development at www.DECD.org or 860-270-8215
For questions about insurance, including the coverage in your policy or for help regarding a claim, contact the Connecticut Insurance Department at 800-203-3447 or 860-297-3900. Here are some quick tips on insurance matters:
After the Disaster
- After a disaster, take photos of the damage and remove valuables if your property cannot be secured. Then make or arrange for temporary repairs.
- Save receipts of all work performed on your property for your claim, and for all unexpected expenses like temporary lodging, storage, meals, rent, utility installation and transportation. Some policies will cover these items.
Reporting Your Claim
- Most insurance companies have time limits for filing claims—usually 60 days after a disaster. Call your insurance company or visit a mobile claims center to start your claim.
- List all items destroyed, damaged or missing on your claim. If you do not have a home inventory, begin making a list of items and include as much detail as possible.
- Your insurance company will send an insurance adjuster to survey the damage at no cost to you. Public adjusters may offer the same services, but you must pay related fees.
- Do not feel rushed to agree on a settlement. If there are disagreements, try to resolve them with your insurer. If you cannot reach an agreement, the Connecticut Insurance Department can help you decide if arbitration or mediation is an option.
- Remember that automobile, flood and earthquake damage are not covered in a typical homeowner’s or renter’s policy. If you have a separate policy for such items, contact the company that wrote the additional policy to file your claim.
After Filing Your Claim
- Your full claim may come in multiple payments. The first will likely be an emergency advance and may include additional living expenses. The payment for your personal property and any additional living expenses will be made out to you. Payments for the structure may be payable to you and your lien holder if you have a mortgage.
- If a contractor finds hidden damage that was not discovered in an adjuster’s original assessment, contact your insurance company to resolve the difference.
View some additional tips on flood insurance claims from the Connecticut Insurance Department.
Trumbull Police Offer Their Own Tips:
The majority of UI's make-safe efforts were expected to be completed by 8 p.m. Sept. 2. Crews will be working through the weekend to restore power as quickly as possible.
All hurricane related calls should be addressed to the appropriate utilities or agencies.
The at 20 Trefoil Drive has generously offered to open the use of their showers to Trumbull and Monroe residents. The showers will be available Sept. 3 through 5 p.m.; Sept. 4, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Please bring your own toiletries, towels and photo ID.
Trumbull's sewage pump stations are working.
The transfer station is open during regular hours and will extend will extend hours and be open 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Sept. 3.
The (Main Library on Quality St.) is closed until further notice due to a power outage.
The branch library has reopened...but has NO INTERNET and no online catalog. Staff will check out library materials manually.
The pool at and the sprinkler lot at Park are open. All other Town of Trumbull Park Facilities are closed.
Residents who attempt to access these facilities do so at their own risk.
Please check the Trumbull Public School website, www.trumbullps.org for information regarding the opening of school.
There are still some electrical wires down around town. DO NOT GO NEAR THESE LINES. Report downed lines to the United Illuminating Company at 1-800-722-5584.