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PURA Considers Civil Penalties If Utilities Mishandled Storm Response

Utility regulators say they will consider whether civil penalties should be applied if Connecticut’s electric companies are found to have botched the response to Tropical Storm Isaias. The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority Thursday outlined the scope of its investigation into the response that was requested by Gov. Ned Lamont. 

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Some 600,000 households remained without power in the state Thursday afternoon, two days after the storm blew through.

PURA says it will look at whether utilities were adequately prepared and whether the response met statutory requirements. It will also consider whether the companies have been investing enough in their outage response systems.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers say they’d like to be involved in attempts to assess the storm response. Republican senators Len Fasano and Paul Formica issued a statement saying reports that Eversource in particular was underprepared for the storm are "alarming and infuriating."

They call the failure of response "unacceptable" at a time when Eversource just hiked rates on consumers in the midst of a pandemic.

Lamont toured damage today in South Windsor and West Hartford. Speaking to reporters, he once again took Eversource to task, saying they should have prepared for the worst.

"Look, you can't have enough people all the time on staff to deal with every single type of emergency but you sure as hell better have enough people ready to go, especially when you have a two or three day warning with a weather report," he said. "You could have been better prepared."

Lamont had a call earlier in the day with stakeholders across Connecticut. He said there’s concerns over the processing of unemployment claims as the Department of Labor building in Wethersfield is on what he described as an “antique” generator.

Lamont also said that one-third of all state nursing homes are currently on generators.

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