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Connecticut Utilities Push Back On Proposal Requiring Payouts For Extended Outages

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Connecticut’s two largest electric utility companies have pushed back on a proposal that would have them pay compensation to their customers if they fail to restore power within 72 hours. The legislation was drafted after their poor response following Tropical Storm Isaias.

The legislation would require that the utilities pay customers affected by extended power outages up to $1,000 in compensation for spoiled food and medications. The outages would have to affect up to 10% of the utility’s customer base.

Anthony Marone is the CEO of United Illuminating, the state’s second largest utility. He told lawmakers in the Energy and Technology Committee that the penalty is too severe.

“They ought to be sized according to what the lack of performance is,” he said. “And I think as proposed there to have a 10% exposure is just, you know, you could put a company out of business. And I don’t think that’s what any of us want.”

Jim Judge, the CEO of the state’s largest utility, Eversource, warned that the high penalties might lead to higher utility bills for customers.

It took Eversource more than 10 days to restore power to all its customers after Isaias. Lawmakers are expected to consider the bill in a special session later this month.

Copyright 2020 WSHU

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year. In addition to providing long-form reports and features for WSHU, he regularly contributes spot news to NPR, and has worked at the NPR National News Desk as part of NPR’s diversity initiative.
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