The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority slammed Connecticut Light & Power in a draft decision analyzing the utility company’s response to two storms.
PURA, calling CL&P “deficient and inadequate,” said on Tuesday that these findings will be taken into consideration when it rules on the next rate request from CL&P and on any request for recovery of costs it incurred as a result of the storms. Northeast Utilities is the parent company of CL&P, and one of two electricity utilities in the state.
Orange was hit particularly hard by Hurricane Irene and the Halloween nor'easter. Trees were toppled throughout town, farmers lost their crops, and .
“Last year’s storms were a nightmare for Connecticut residents, and the response from Northeast Utilities was unacceptable. 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.
CL&P can challenge PURA’s draft decision before the agency finalizes the report on Aug. 1. A spokesman for the utility, however, said CL&P is unsure if it will do so.
"We are in the process of reviewing all 117 pages of the document and will decide if we will file written exceptions or participate in oral arguments in front of the commissioners before they issue their final decision on August 1," Mitch Gross, a CL&P spokesman, told the Connecticut Mirror.
The draft decision also ordered CL&P to develop a plan to establish a “heightened state of readiness” in preparation for future storms. The reports also asks the company to take steps to address issues such as tree trimming, communications and securing mutual assistance.
“This draft is a positive step toward ensuring better quality of service and fair compensation for residents, ratepayers and municipalities,” said Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen in a statement.
The PURA draft decision did not specify potential sanctions for other public service companies, including United illuminating (UI), the state’s second largest electric distribution company. PURA did, however, reserve the right to take UI’s storm performance into consideration when reviewing any future request by that company for recovery of 2011storm-related costs.
The full report 123-page report is attached to this article.