Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Connecticut's Utility Fails To Meet Own Deadline To Restore Power

Connecticut Light and Power is the poster child for all that is wrong with power utilities in the country. Not only can it not provide its basic purpose - reliable power distribution, but it can't even make its own deadlines to restore power to hundreds of thousands of people across the state.

Thousands of customers are still without power two weeks after the early season snowstorm.

CLP's parent company, Northeast Utilities, has put up $10 million to offer assistance to its customers and waived penalties and other fees from the storm period. That's cold comfort to the hundreds of thousands of customers who were without power for nearly two weeks.

Gov. Dannel Malloy empowered a panel to investigate the utility and thus far there's no good news for the utility. It cut back on tree trimming, and while the utility can claim that it has spent more on trimming in recent years, it's less than it was spending a decade ago (as adjusted for inflation). That translates into less miles of line that gets trimmed - meaning that more trees are likely to cause service disruptions.

Others are now focusing on CLP's parent company, and how the political favors and lobbying has won it the right to little oversight or responsibility when things go horribly wrong.

The State Attorney General is working with a risk management company to try and figure out what the utility did and is an expansion of similar investigations being carried out in the wake of the utility's failings during Hurricane Irene.

There are five separate investigations ongoing into CLP's actions during the aftermath from Irene and the snowstorm.

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