Eversource CEO Jim Judge went before Connecticut lawmakers Thursday to defend his company’s response to Tropical Storm Isaias.
In testimony that was at times apologetic and defensive, Judge told members of the state’s energy and technology committee his company “saw a major storm coming and prepared for it.”
"As it turned out, the storm was much more impactful and widespread than anybody expected," he told lawmakers. "Nobody — nobody that I’m aware of — predicted that Connecticut would see a storm with impacts significantly bigger than Superstorm Sandy or Irene."
Hundreds of thousands of Eversource customers lost power following Isaias, with some not getting it back for more than a week. State officials said Eversource should have invested more in grid hardening and pre-storm planning.
Judge acknowledged the frustration, saying Eversource could have communicated better around power outages. But he said grid reliability has “improved dramatically” in recent years, with fewer outages that are restored more quickly.
"I fully understand that our customers don’t think that we’re doing a good job. And I don’t know whether that’s because of the price that’s [being] paid, or whether it’s legacy performance issues … but this is a highly performing company … and the metrics suggest that we’re doing a good job for our customers, and our shareholders, and our employees," he said.
Eversource is due to file a full storm report with state regulators early next month. Governor Ned Lamont has asked regulators to see if the company should be fined for its storm response.