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Former FEMA Head To Investigate Outages

HARTFORD, Conn. – Under mounting pressure from lawmakers and with more than 300,000 customers still without power Friday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced that President Bill Clinton's FEMA director will conduct a "thorough and timely review of both CL&P and UI and their handling of the recent winter storm."

The record-breaking Nor'easter that hit Connecticut last Saturday left more than 800,000 households in the dark – many of which won't have power restored until Sunday.

James Lee Witt has more than 25 years of disaster management experience and was director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency from 1993 to 2001. He is now chief operating officer of Witt Associates, a consulting firm that focuses on public safety and crisis management. He is conducting the review – which will be completed by Dec. 1 — for free, Malloy's said.

"As soon as everyone's lights are back on, we need to have a very timely, thorough review of the power companies' performances, to identify what went wrong, why it went wrong, and most importantly, identify solutions for the short term before the next winter storm impacts Connecticut," said Malloy.

"James (Witt) and his colleagues have worked on the state and federal level and they understand how critical it is to conduct this review quickly and thoroughly. I appreciate his offer to help us."

As FEMA director, Witt coordinated federal disaster relief, including the response and recovery activities of 28 federal agencies and departments, the American Red Cross and other volunteer agencies. He oversaw more than 350 disasters, including floods, earthquakes and hurricanes.

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