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Regulators Give Utilities High Marks For Sandy

by Hugh McQuaid | Aug 22, 2013 4:34pm
(1) Comment | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Energy, Weather, Ansonia

Hugh McQuaid file photo

Trees down in Stonington after Sandy

In a report released Wednesday, regulators gave the state’s utility companies generally high marks for their preparation and response to damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Connecticut’s utility providers have been under increased scrutiny since a series of severe weather events the past few years left many of the state’s residents without electricity for long stretches.

Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating both struggled to amass resources to repair damage and restore power to thousands of residents after Tropical Storm Irene and a severe Nor’Easter that pummeled the state in 2011.

The long power outages led Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the General Assembly to approve legislation creating performance standards and fines for utility companies if they fail to meet power restoration goals following a major storm.

According to a report issued Wednesday by the Public Utility Regulatory Authority, the two providers learned some lessons from the recent string of bad weather and were better prepared for the statewide damage caused by Hurricane Sandy last year.

“The [electric distribution companies] prepared very effectively for Storm Sandy, especially through procuring and pre-positioning supplemental lineworkers prior to the storm. This facilitated a more rapid ramp-up of resources for make-safe, damage assessment and restoration/repair activities following the storm. [PURA] encourages such preparation activities in the future,” the report read.

The PURA report identified some areas where regulators wanted the utility companies to improve. It ordered CL&P and UI to submit a report by the end of March on developing an emergency generator readiness program to support critical facilities.

Regulators also called upon CL&P to conduct employee training to ensure utility workers pass on accurate information to customers. In preparing for the report, PURA took written testimony including a letters from municipal planning organizations, which said the company did not consistently provide accurate status reports and restoration estimates.

Regulators ordered both companies to continue to implement certain programs and employee training initiatives as well as work with government officials to prioritize its most important facilities.

In a statement, William Quinlan, CL&P’s senior vice president of emergency preparedness, called the regulators’ report “welcome news.”

“However, our work to ensure we are prepared for future emergency events is constantly ongoing. As with all storms, we will incorporate PURA’s feedback into future plans and continue our efforts to become a recognized industry leader in this area,” he said.

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posted by: Fisherman | August 23, 2013  8:40am

And the NEXT winner of Malloy’s First Five program is… you guessed it…Northeast Utilities!

Welcome to Stamford!