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Hartford Courant, February 11, 1920




Stevenson Dam Hampered by Ice

While Snow Blocks Coal

(Special to the Courant)

Waterbury, Feb. 10


The Connecticut Light & Power Company issued the following statement this afternoon: –


“Up to within the last day or so the company believed that a sufficient supply of coal would be received to keep the plant running, but the outlook overnight has taken such a discouraging turn and the difficulties of transportation have been made so much worse by the storm of today that the company fears the supply of power for industrial purposes may have to be reduced or even discontinued altogether until relief can be obtained. “There have been a number of causes which have contributed to bring about the present situation.


“The coal strike of last November causes a cessation in the shipment of coal from the mines as everyone knows and made it necessary to draw heavily upon reserve stock.  Just as the conditions were beginning to become alarming at that time, the coal strike was settled and in addition the company’s new water power plant at Stevenson was put into preliminary operation as there was an abundance of water in the Housatonic River during December, the company felt that the situation had been entirely relieved and there should be no cause to worry for the remainder of the winter.


“The extreme cold weather, however, resulted in the freezing up of all streams and caused an abnormal flow of water in the Housatonic River during the month of January and continuing up to the present time with the result that the company has not secured from its water power plan the amount of power which it would otherwise have normally obtained.


“The severe weather conditions also congested the freight yards which are the gate-ways into New England an especially the big yards at Maybrook, N.Y., so that the railroads for some time have been compelled to accept cars from the mines destined for New England with the result that no coal has been forwarded us from the mines since January 19,


“The sleet storm of February 5 made matters worse in the freight yards and practically stopped all movement of coal for several days. The company had unrailed, however, a number of cars of coal sufficient; it was believed to tide over the situation until the weather moderated and the shipping condition become more normal.


“Owing to the fact that the railroads themselves were running short of coal as well as industries in other cities the railroad administration has been forced to resort to the confiscation of coal on the rails.  A large number of cars consigned to us were thus confiscated. The company’s reserve stock has therefore been gradually reduced until at the present time there is only about one week’s supply on hand.”


The Connecticut Light & Power Company furnishes power for several of the large manufacturing interests in this city, as well as for New Britain, Bristol, Cheshire, Naugatuck Beacon Falls, and other places.


“For the various reasons stated above it is possible that the company may find it necessary to either cut down or even discontinue altogether the supply of electric power for industrial purposes until either a thaw sets in sufficient to start the water flowing greater quantities in the Housatonic river or until some means can be found to get coals from the mines through the snow and ice-bound freight yards,”

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