Connecticut Attorney General William Tong is calling on Eversource to pay penalties and for damages caused by Tropical Storm Isaias last summer.
Calling Eversource’s failure to communicate and protect public safety during and after the storm “imprudent,” Tong said that the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) should mandate consumer credits and make all findings necessary to levy penalties.
Last August, Isaias left more than 100,000 Eversource customers without power for several days, some more than week, which drew the ire of Tong and other elected officials in Connecticut.
According to Tong, “Eversource’s failures caused severe harm,” noting that:
- A wastewater treatment plant was left without power for nearly a week;
- A police station was without power for at least six days;
- A deceased person was left in a car for five hours, trapped by a tree tangled in electric wires;
- A family dog was electrocuted by a live downed wire a full four days after Isaias struck;
- Vulnerable residents were trapped in their homes without power;
- Those dependent on wells did not have running water.
In his brief filed with PURA, Tong outlined multiple Eversource failures during the storm, including a lack of communication, unsafe conditions for some utility crews, and a failure of the company’s liaison program.
Tong said that should PURA agree and find the Eversource response to be imprudent, there will be a subsequent proceeding to determine penalties that could lead to credits to ratepayers for multimillion-dollar investments in communications systems that failed to deliver
“The evidence in this proceeding overwhelmingly demonstrates that Eversource yet again failed its Connecticut consumers in its major storm response,” Tong said.
“PURA should find that Eversource was imprudent in its storm preparation and response—most notably for its failure to protect public safety and communicate effectively,” he added. “In the next phase of this proceeding, PURA should levy meaningful penalties against Eversource for these failures.”
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