Norwich Public Utilities (NPU)

A municipally owned utility serving Norwich, CT with
natural gas, electricity, water and sewer services.

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Memo from John Bilda

John Bilda

There is value for Norwich in a storm that missed the mark

On Tuesday, March 14, like all of you, I was expecting that the Rose City would be pounded by a classic Nor’easter. According to the media, we should have expected high winds and up to 20 inches of snow. 

In the end, the storm was less than half as treacherous as we expected, but because of the coordinated approach the City of Norwich puts into place for this type of situation, we were ready to respond to anything Mother Nature could have thrown at us.

Well before the storm was expected to hit, all of our City’s departments were talking to each other, sharing information and making plans. Equipment, materials and personnel were organized, scheduled and put in place.

On 7:00 am on March 14, the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated at NPU’s offices on South Golden Street. Having a command center for our city is critical for receiving and sending out the latest information, which dramatically reduces the likelihood of any miscommunication.

From the EOC, and with representatives from across the City, Norwich participated in a conference call with Governor Malloy on Tuesday morning which included the latest weather forecast and status reports from a number of state agencies.

Throughout any potentially major event, public safety and communication are the highest priorities for our city. NPU provided regular updates to the media before and during the storm and reached more than 5,000 people through social media.

snow covered road

Thankfully, NPU did not experience a single service related issue for natural gas, water, wastewater or electric services.

The major departments of our city – police, fire, public works, and NPU – work so well together because of the trust and relationships they’ve built over many years and many storms.

And while the March Nor’easter did not measure up to its hype, it gave the City of Norwich the opportunity to have its colleagues from across other departments work together what certainly had the potential to be a significant public safety situation.

These incidents – regardless of their severity – are a great opportunity for our employees to learn, which in the end, will benefit our city when the next storm comes along.

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