Connecticut regulators have determined that Eversource and United Illuminating failed to meet acceptable performance standards in their preparation and response to Tropical Storm Isaias last summer.
“Having found numerous deficiencies and other actions that were both unreasonable and imprudent taken by the management of both utilities, the authority has what it believes is a probable basis to level several penalties under the law,” said Marissa Gillett, chair of the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority
Those penalties include a reduction of profits from rates at both utility companies. PURA said that could be an incentive for corporate management to better prepare for future storms.
Last August, State Attorney General William Tong pressed PURA to investigate the utility companies after Isaias. He said the decision this week finds Eversource was imprudent in its Isaias response, “opening the door to consumer credits, fines and penalties at a subsequent proceeding.”
“Eversource failed and must regain our trust,” Tong said in a statement. “Their failed response to Isaias put lives in danger, and left families in the dark and disconnected during a deadly pandemic.”
The authority said their failure to respond appropriately "created a significant risk to public safety."
Eversource spokesperson Mitch Gross said in a statement that they stand by their response to Isaias. He said the PURA decision “deserves careful consideration” for the utility company to move forward.
“There are many areas for improvement that we are already addressing, and we continue to work in good faith with our communities, customers and regulators to improve our performance,” Gross said.
PURA will also require comprehensive management audits on the utilities this summer.