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State Senate approves ‘Take Back Our Grid’ bill; Eversource responds with conciliatory remarks

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The Connecticut state senate unanimously passed the “Take Back our Grid” bill Thursday night, 35-0.

The bill, which on Wednesday passed the House by a 136-4 margin, requires electric utilities – including Eversource and United Illuminating — to pay a maximum of $250 to each residential customer for spoiled food and medication due to an outage that lasts more than four days from an emergency.

A $25 per day credit would also be given to residential customers suffering an outage that lasts more than four days.

The bill now heads to Gov. Ned Lamont, who is expected to sign it into law.

Driving the legislation was customer and governmental dissatisfaction with the utilities’ performance after Tropical Storm Isaias in August. Not only did Eversource significantly underestimate the storm’s potential impact, it was also widely criticized for not communicating with customers as it addressed the situation, which at its peak had left some 800,000 customers without power.

“We appreciate and understand the Energy and Technology Committee’s and legislative leaders’ concerns following Tropical Storm Isaias,” Eversource said after the Senate vote. “The legislation passed tonight includes performance-based regulation which we believe will benefit our customers. This new approach will hold us accountable if we fall short in meeting certain standards, and will acknowledge when we exceed the standards, which we believe will result in better service for our customers.

“The legislation also includes an important provision that affirms (the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority)’s ability to adopt storm performance standards based on industry best practices,” the statement noted.

In addition, the Senate okayed an environmental bill, which the House had also passed on Wednesday, by a 35-1 vote.

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