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Eversource Wants Permission To Charge Customers More After Isaias Response Cost Them Millions

Gustav Holmström

Eversource Energy is expecting regulators to allow the utility company to charge customers to pay back millions of dollars in costs from their response to Tropical Storm Isaias last summer.

The company reported to Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) that it spent $341 million in post-Isaias operations across New England — $230 million of which was spent in the state. Eversource serves over 4 million customers in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Democratic State Senator Jorge Cabrera blasted Eversource’s request for payments because of the company’s poor response following the storm.

"Eversource seeking to recover funds from Connecticut ratepayers after the companies' poor response to Tropical Storm Isaias is entirely unacceptable," said Cabrera in a press release. "Many across the state, and specifically in my district in Naugatuck, Beacon Falls and Bethany were left without power for days due to the slow storm response from Eversource.”

More than 4,000 customers in Connecticut were left without power for more than a week, after Isaias slammed the state with gusts as high as 70 miles per hour that toppled trees and wires.

State Representative David Arconti is co-chair of the Energy and Technology Committee.

“I think they botched quite a few things. So I don’t think it’s a sure bet that they are going to get cost recovery for that response,” Arconti said.

Eversource CEO James Judge said last week that the company expects to recoup about $228 million dollars it spent on restoring power in Connecticut by charging ratepayers. Those charges would have to be approved by the state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. That agency is investigating Eversource’s response to Isaias.

The response by Eversource and United Illuminating has been under scrutiny for not being up to the obligations during emergency response. Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont called on PURA to open up an investigation of the utility companies.

Lamont called for the investigation to see if the companies were adequately prepared and had resources needed to respond, evaluate the response, whether the response met regulatory requirements, and determine whether civil penalties were required.

The state General Assembly passed legislation to make utility companies, like Eversource, pay upwards of $250 per customer for spoiled food and medications after four days of lost power.

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.