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CL&P Faulted for Last Year's Storm Response

Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority called Connecticut Light & Power's response to power outages caused by last year's storms "deficient and inadequate."


In a draft decision released today, Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) called Connecticut Light & Power's response to Tropical Storm Irene and the October snow storm "deficient and inadequate."

PURA faulted other electric distribution and public service companies for also failing in the way they prepared for and responded to the outages caused by last year's storms but as the state's largest electric distribution company, CL&P bore the brunt of the criticism. 

“Last year’s storms were a nightmare for Connecticut residents, and the response from Northeast Utilities was unacceptable," said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in a statement about the ruling.

"Today, PURA is echoing the earlier findings of the Two Storm Panel, the Witt report, and hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents who experienced extended power outages after each storm," Malloy said. "It is clear that Northeast Utilities did not prepare for outages of this magnitude and did not build adequate capacity to respond."

PURA said its findings will be a factor when it rules on the next rate request from CL&P and on any request from that distribution company for recovery of costs it incurred as a result of the storms. Currently, CL&P has no rate requests pending before PURA, nor has it submitted any request for recovery of storm-related costs.

The draft decision also provided an incentive for CL&P to strengthen its
preparation for future storms. PURA said it will “consider and weigh the extent to which CL&P has recognized its shortcomings and taken concrete, measurable steps to embrace the need for aggressive, extensive restructuring of both its attitude toward storm management and establishment of new practices for execution of future storm response.”

PURA's decision ordered CL&P to develop a plan to establish a “heightened state of readiness” in preparation for future storms and to take steps to address issues such as tree trimming, communications and securing mutual assistance.

Gov. Malloy noted that the state has also taken steps ensure that utility companies will be better prepared going forward. Earlier this year, the Legislature passed a comprehensive storm package that raised the standards and expectations for utility companies both before and after a storm or other disaster.

"Those standards will ensure that we have enough boots on the ground to
adequately prepare for and respond to whatever mother nature throws our way next,” Malloy said.

PURA will be gathering additional input from other interested parties to give people a chance to provide comments and testimony before it issues its final decision on this matter on August 1. 

Attorney General George Jepsen, meanwhile, said he thought this draft decision was a step in the right direction.  

“Today’s draft decision clearly echoes our case in this proceeding and would assess meaningful penalties on Connecticut Light & Power for the company’s deficient response to Tropical Storm Irene  and the October Nor’easter," said Attorney General George Jepsen. “This draft is a positive step toward ensuring better quality of service and fair compensation for residents, ratepayers and municipalities.”

Fred July 18, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Yes, clearly cl&p was at fault for the weather and the fact the roads were not cleared so their crews could repair the power lines in a timely fashion. Clearly cl&p was also at fault for the many state workers that filled out food stamp forms in error, shame on them. Now lets fine them so we the taxpayers can pay a higher rate so they can pay the fine to the state, hell we could just call it what it is, the new storm tax for all those greedy customers
Dave July 18, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Jerry, are you being sarcastic? Do you have a solution or are you part of the problem? Maybe a linesman for cl&p? Maybe a Republican? How many days were you without power?
Elizabeth July 18, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Any "meaningful penalties" assessed to CL&P should be in the form of credit payed from CL&P directly to its customers' electric bills. My family and I were without power for 12 days and amassed close to $2,000 worth of bills/loss due directly to the outtage. The only way that consumers will be made whole is by (1) a substantial credit to each account that was without power for x amount of days; and (2) the rejection of any substantial rate increases by CL&P for a determined amount of time (so that CL&P cannot pass the cost of the credit indirectly to the consumer).
Saul Freedman July 18, 2012 at 02:15 PM
If that was permitted, the Democrats in Hartford wouldn't get the money from CL&P to put into the general fund to pay for their social welfare programs - keep dreaming Elizabeth, no credit for us schmucks!
Fred July 18, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Dear Dave I confess the storm was my fault, next time I will alert you of that fact up front so you do not blame the linesman and republicans. Although I am not a member of either group I understand how many communist in training would see things in that light. I would also like to confess I know how to build a fire for heat and cooking, pack food in cooler with snow when my power goes out for ten days. I would also like to confess I shamelessly did the same for my elderly neighbors, as well as went to work every day and played some great late night candle light monopoly games with my wife and children. Please forgive me
Dave July 18, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Jerry, you are a true savior, an impressive survivalist and a very impressive family man. You do, however, suck. Go out and play in the thunderstorm with golf clubs!
Harry Sawyer July 18, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Gee, I cannot wait until the economy does collapse, and the grid shuts down. To whom will you blame then? Better pack some survival gear, because a week to 12 days without power, is going to seem puny...
Charlie July 18, 2012 at 08:43 PM
I agree they were not well prepared but how do you prepare for a historic, catastrophic storm that has never been seen. You can only prepare so much for a historical storm. Also, since it was historical, how can you prepare for something adequately when you have never seen it before?
Moriah July 18, 2012 at 09:02 PM
I am a mother of 3 young children, who remained home with them and 2 dogs and various other animals for the 11 days we were without power. That said, I completely agree with Jerry's obviously sarcastic statement. NO ONE could have been prepared for that storm. I believe i read in the paper its been about 50 yrs since a similar storm happened?! CL&P is not responsible for the storm, and while I feel it could have all maybe been done a lil faster, I believe the downed trees completely affected their ability to turn on the power...yet no ones mad at the tree companies! These were obviously hard working men who when i was out on the rd seemed to be working at all hours. The men who fixed my power were from georgia. and WHO is going to pay for CL&P to be 'prepared' for the next freak storm in 50 more years? us? i think long before that happens the budget will be cut, as everything else is
Moriah July 18, 2012 at 09:02 PM
good for you
Moriah July 18, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Well said Charlie, and my point exactly.
Marci July 18, 2012 at 09:06 PM
At least we had the Duracell Power Relief Truck in Avon, that is , once trees were removed so that you could get to the Walmart/Big Y Lot... No Comcast anything for 12 days in my area and no power at all for 5 days.. Comcast has been trying to repair my internet and especially phone lines, which still drop calls, since after that storm IN OCTOBER and it's almost the end of July. I can't blame CL&P nor Comcast Xfinity as this came out of no where and no one was prepared for such damage, the likes of which I've never seen in my lifetime. If you applied CL&P gave you like $140. credit on your bill in Feb.. I think..That didn't begin to cover the food lost in a fully stocked freezer and fridge but it was something..That's The dear Democratic Govs fault though as we were supposed to get up to $300. given to us from the FIVE million CL&P gave him but of course we didn't. Nor did our non Potus bother to come and see this state even though he's lived on Air Force One for 3+ years now.. I don't know where people got food stamps for their loss because it certainly wasn't in Avon..Vote for O again people & the next storm his people will decide if we deserve to have electricity just like they'll decide if you're too old for certain medical treatments. Socialism in the USA, gotta love it, NOT!! Vote Mitt or none of us will have anything leave alone no power for 12 days. Tax us to death Potus needs to go along with living in tax us to death Ct. Tks for that last increase Gov.Dan!!
Nanci Wylde July 18, 2012 at 09:53 PM
I believe Secretary Janet Napilitano visited East Haven. Would having the POTUS show up in the Farmington Valley made any of us feel better? Probably not. Look, CL&P was unprepared. How could they have been? Their response going forward was unacceptable. A total communication breakdown. Instead of whining, making it a political issue, I chose to volunteer at a senior center every day. I got to meet people I never would have met otherwise. My mayor,and deputy mayor his brother, sister in law,my state rep and senator were there almost every day. And not for a photo op. I lost food. Big deal. There are people in my community who don't have any food. Regardless of this storm. I got a two hundred dollar credit. I didn't pay a CL&P bill until this month. I didn't lose my house in the storm. My animal was safe. Yeah it sucked being without cable....huge sacrifice. Nobody died. I switched electric suppliers after the storm. Big business is big business. Hopefully changes will be made. Butler is gone. If you don't like how things are done, get involved are the regulatory commission. Find our from your state reps/Senators who sit on commissions that set policies. I see absolutely zero gratitude here. None. Pick your battles. Get over yourselves.

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