tropical storm isaias

Eversource Didn't Meet Acceptable Standards in Tropical Storm Isaias Response: PURA

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Months after Tropical Storm Isaias left hundreds of thousands without power, the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) has investigated and said Eversource didn't meet acceptable standards while United Illuminating mostly did.

The tropical storm left many Connecticut residents without power for a week or more this past August.

Eversource’s response to Tropical Storm Isaias, as well as rate hikes back in July, will be part of the focus of a legislative forum on Thursday.

As a result, PURA said they'll consider fines and penalties against Eversource.

Officials warned that this is only a draft decision and could change.

PURA oversees regulation of Connecticut electric, gas, water, and cable companies.

In response, Eversource said it's reviewing the decision but stands by its storm response.

"We were well prepared for this storm even though the forecast changed drastically as the storm arrived - causing unprecedented damage in Connecticut. We know how difficult it was for customers to be without power, which is why we mobilized thousands of line and tree crews from across the country and Canada - the largest team ever assembled in Connecticut - to restore power and quickly as possible for our customers, all while following strict COVID-19 protocols," Eversource said in a statement.

"We also learned from this experience, and we continue to implement improvements to provide the best possible service for our customers," the statement continued.

UI said it will look for opportunities to improve as it reviews the decision.

"We are confident that we met the core objectives set out in UI's Emergency Response Plan. However, we also recognize the difficulties that extended outages created for many of our customers," UI said in a statement.

The focus of a series of hearings began with the storm response by Eversource in a cluster of Fairfield County towns, including, New Fairfield, Bethel, Ridgefield, Newtown, And New Canaan.

These towns said they were very hard hit. For instance, Bethel said its police department had to work off generator power for days.

The towns told the panel the biggest issue during Isaias was communication.

They explained how Eversource has a system set up where each town leader has a designated liaison they can exchange information with before, during, and after, a storm event. 

The town leaders said the system worked well just a few years ago, but this time, the liaisons had a lot of trouble getting answers from their team at Eversource to provide the towns on outages and road blockages.

Tropical Storm Isaias ripped through the state last Tuesday, leaving behind damage and hundreds of thousands of power outages. Mike Hydeck discusses this and more in this week's Face the Facts.

The Attorney General is looking for Eversource to face penalties and to credit customers who lost power during the tropical storm and says the company’s failure to communicate and protect public safety was “imprudent.”

Tong made the argument last month to PURA.

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