The attorney general is calling for regulators to investigate Eversource and United Illuminating for their response to Tropical Storm Isiais, which knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of homes across the state, many of which are still waiting for power a week later.
Tong said that he brought a motion before the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority demanding “a contested case and prudence review,” which his office said would enable him to seek fines, penalties and injunctive relief and oppose the utilities’ requests for profits and reimbursement of storm-related costs.
“Consumers are justifiably outraged by the unacceptable response to this storm, and we are relying on PURA’s investigation for answers and accountability. After the 2011 storms, ratepayers invested millions of dollars in communications upgrades, tree trimming, and system resiliency to prevent exactly this kind of debacle. Why were Eversource and United Illuminating so woefully underprepared once again?” Tong said in a statement.
“They owe all of us a detailed explanation for their staffing policies, their weather forecasting, the models and simulations they used to test their IT systems, and more. PURA must clearly and unequivocally preserve all possible options to impose the strongest fines and penalties without delay. I will use the full weight of my authority throughout this investigation to hold Eversource and UI accountable for this stunning failure,” he added.
Tong is looking for a detailed timeline and description of the steps the companies took to prepare for the storm, including efforts to get help from contractors and other utilities.
He is also asking for how the companies tracked, prioritized and repaired outages during and after the storm.
Craig Hallstrom, Eversource's president of Regional Operations, said he understands the frustration of its customers and the company has a sense of urgency.
"We're working as quickly as we possibly can," said Hallstrom.
Legislative leaders of the Energy & Technology Committee said they will hold a hearing on Eversource's storm management response, delivery charges, initiatives to improve the grid and investments made in linemen and they have reached out to Eversource's CEO to ask him to participate.
It’s not yet clear when the hearing will be held.