[Update, 2:58 p.m.] Jeffrey Butler: 'I Did Not Want My Presence to Be a Distraction'

A neighbor, Avon resident and town officials react to the CL&P president's resignation.

Update, 2:47 p.m., Nov. 18

Avon resident and resigning CL&P president Jeffrey Butler does not want to talk about his resignation, but he spoke out for the first and final time Friday since the news of his departure broke, shifting the focus on moving foward.

“While I appreciate that the media may be interested in speaking to me about my decision to resign from CL&P, I have no comment, and will have no comment beyond the following statement," Butler wrote in a statement sent to media after seeking several inquiries for a comment on his resignation.

But he did want to talk about CL&P and two of the most extensive power outages the company has had to respond to as a result of Tropical Storm Irene and the late October snowstorm.

"In just two months the state of Connecticut has faced two historic storms and the most challenging restoration in CL&P’s history," Butler said in his statement. "The employees responded to each event with dedication and resilience performing well under very difficult conditions. It is a performance I am proud of. And yet, from both storms, there are lessons to be learned."

Butler did not directly mention his resignation, but he did reference it as a way to help CL&P to move on.

"I believe CL&P will emerge even stronger from the review processes that are underway," Butler wrote. "However, I did not want my presence to be a distraction to that effort."

And now Butler wishes to do the same, move on.

"I ask for the media to please respect my and my family’s privacy as we all move forward,” Butler wrote.

Original Story

Extensive statewide power outages as a result of the pre-Halloween snowstorm sparked widespread anger toward Connecticut Light & Power for not fixing the problem faster, but on Jeff Butler's quiet, wooded street in Avon, the atmosphere was not as charged.

"He's a terrific guy. He's very supportive of the neighborhood," Avon resident John Zieky said Thursday, the day of . "He and his wife are great people and great neighbors."

Butler's street, Pembroke Drive, only has four houses on it, all spread out. He and his wife, Susan bought their house in September 2009. The neighborhood is in the corner of Avon near Nod Brook Road and minutes from Avon Mountain.

Avon Patch knocked on Butler's door Thursday night and spoke to Butler, but he declined an interview.

While there were some in Avon, including a Farmington Woods resident who police said called CL&P threatening to shoot any nearby utility workers, Lt. Kelly Walsh, spokesperson for the Avon Police Department, said that the police did not receive any reports of people harassing or threatening Butler at his home. She did say he hired private security.

While media reported protesters showing up at his door, Zieky said he hadn't noticed anything out of the ordinary across the street and that it was pretty quiet the past couple of weeks.

Zieky said Pembroke Drive lost power for a week and that there were many major trees down, including one that fell on his driveway. Yet, unlike many, he did not blame his neighbor because the power took awhile to come back on.

"I felt supportive of Jeff," said Zieky, who has lived on the street since 1999 and said that he hopes Butler is going to stay in Avon. "If you looked around at areas of town you could see the devastation."

In fact, he was not surprised it took so long, given the shock of having a snowfall in October and the extent of the damage.

Meanwhile town officials, who have never interacted with Butler, , one of the towns, along with many Farmington Valley towns, that endured the most storm damage and extensive power outages. A select handful of residents did not get power back until after Nov. 9. Yet there was little reaction to Butler's resignation.

"It appears we have some work to do in respect to contingency planning for emergencies," Avon Town Manager Brandon Robertson said, declining to comment on Butler's resignation.

Robertson said "the mechanism is in place to learn from this" between the two-storm panel Gov. Dannel P. Malloy formed to evaluate the overall response to Tropical Storm Irene and the October nor'easter and consulting firm Witt Associates' pending review of CL&P's performance on behalf of the state.

"I think that this catastrophe of nature and other proportions revealed many flaws in many systems, personal systems, town systems and a corporate system that is a monopoly," Avon resident Robin Schwartz said, who learned of Butler's resignation for the first time Thursday night. "One of his gravest mistakes was the communication part of a plan that could never be achieved."

Crews from Canada repaired a utility pole's faulty insulator on her street, Harris Road during the storm aftermath. They noticed that the top of the wooden pole was rotten, so they had to cut it off, Schwartz said.

Before working at CL&P, Butler was employed for 27 years at Pacific Gas and Electric Company in San Francisco, CA, according to his profile on the CL&P website. Toward the end of his time there, he was vice president of energy delivery, "responsible for all aspects of electric and gas utility operations for approximately 10 million gas and electric customers." He also worked in transmission and distribution, maintenance, construction, customer field services and metering activities there, his profile said.

He is a registered professional engineer and earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical and electronic engineering at California State University, his CL&P profile states.

Jim G. November 18, 2011 at 06:20 PM
No, ratepapers, voters and customers NEVER put up with fixers... they are the tool of the BODs, stockholders and owner-corporations who want every last dime squeezed out of the structure without any regard to longer-term consequences. I don't have the sweeping anti-capitalism mindset peeking through this thread, but I find fixers and all they represent sickening - they've destroyed companies and whole industries and with each destruction they are grossly rewarded and sent on to the next, bigger fix job.
Maria Giannuzzi November 18, 2011 at 07:53 PM
I think Jonathan is on to something. I don't know a thing about electricity generation or transmission, or the reliability of the grid, or how to plan for power outages, but surely CL&P and the regulators do. I'm afraid Jonathan is correct. I now believe that both Jeffrey Butler and Governor Malloy knew by noon on Sunday that most of us would wait one to two weeks to get power back.
Jim G. November 18, 2011 at 10:41 PM
Malloy's office made several announcements about the storm's expected severity and impact and advised everyone to prepare, around Wednesday or Thursday. Whatever they might have known or not known by Sunday was clouded by CL&P's inability or refusal to give straight answers to anyone, from Malloy down to town managers. As much as the guv's office might be the top authority, it like everyone else was waiting for CLapPy the Clown to do his job.
Jimny tolosky November 19, 2011 at 01:46 AM
I told u people this lying sob would quit he never should have made those promises and been so lax good riddance ,I'm sure Joan is upset for her buddy
Maria Giannuzzi November 19, 2011 at 01:46 PM
The prolonged power outage offered a useful lesson to the citizens of Connecticut. Our corporate and state leaders either may not know the answers or may refuse to communicate those answers to the public. Either way, the outcome is the same--no power for one to two weeks for most of us. This means that our town and city officials are the ones who will have to step up to alleviate hardship, in addition to individuals and families being as prepared as possible. All town facilities with emergency power need to be used for shelters, charging stations and work areas, warming centers, and serving food and warm beverages during the winter, and cold beverages during hot weather to residents who have no other option (no generators, fireplaces, outdoor grills, money for hotels, relatives in other states, etc.). The town's social service director should have a list of elders or disabled being cared for by private home health care providers, so police and volunteers can check on their welfare during a power outage. The social service director should also have another list of elders or disabled who wish to be checked on during a power outage. CL&P should still be responsible for removing downed power lines from roads where police and fire stations, ambulance services and gas stations are located, although I do have concerns that CL&P may not be up to this job given the experience of the towns of South Windsor and Enfield during the outage.


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