Embattled utility Eversource can add a class-action lawsuit to the growing number of challenges it is facing in the wake of its reaction to Tropical Storm Isaias.
The plaintiffs are seeking monetary and punitive damages of more than $1.5 billion, exclusive of interests and costs.
The suit was filed by a pair of homeowners in Farmington and New Britain, as well as Acupuncture of Great Hartford. The homeowners maintain that the four-day power outage caused by Isaias resulted in food spoiling in their refrigerators, thereby making their homes uninhabitable.
The acupuncture practice, which also was without power for four days, maintains that Eversource’s slow response caused it to lose revenue and profits.
The suit claims Eversource’s slow response reflects negligence and recklessness, as well as breach of contract, and that the company is in violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act.
As of this morning – nine days after Isaias hit Connecticut – 463 customers are still in the dark, according to Eversource. Greenwich has the most outages in the state as of this writing, with 68.
The utility is also facing two investigations by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) – one on its Isaias response and another on rate hikes it instituted at the beginning of July, which PURA has since suspended – with a public hearing scheduled via Zoom for Aug. 24 at 10 a.m.
In other developments, the state legislature’s Energy & Technology Committee is also expected to hold a public hearing this month, while Attorney General William Tong wants Eversource and United Illuminating (UI) to immediately reimburse consumers for lost food and prescriptions using shareholder, not ratepayer, funds.
“They have millions of dollars in profits they can use to cover this cost immediately without putting the burden back on ratepayers,” Tong said. “Families were already struggling to pay for groceries before this storm. No one should go hungry because Eversource and UI didn’t do their jobs.”
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton has floated the idea of suing Eversource over its performance, and state Sen. Tony Hwang (R-25th), whose district includes Newtown, announced during a press conference there yesterday that that town will be part a legal brief being prepared for a number of municipalities for presentation to PURA.
Gov. Ned Lamont and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal have also pledged to continue bringing pressure upon Eversource, going so far as to suggest that its leadership be ousted and the utility broken up.
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