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.
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.