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“Utility companies provide a critical service that can quite literally mean life or death in certain situations, and ratepayers deserve a level of respect that puts them above profits,” the governor said.
“The legislation passed tonight includes performance-based regulation which we believe will benefit our customers," Eversource -- roundly criticized for its response to Tropical Storm Isaias -- said.
Eversource and United Illuminating would 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.
The legislation requires utilities to credit residential customers $125 a day for service outages more than 72 hours after an emergency, except for emergencies causing outages that involve more than 870,000 customers.
“I agree I’m extremely well compensated,” Eversource head James J. Judge said about the $19.8 million he was paid last year. “I know how well I’m paid. I also know that the compensation is very much in line with CEOs of similar sized utilities.”
“As this was an act of nature, we don’t provide reimbursement," an Eversource spokesman said, "but we encourage our customers to reach out to their insurance carrier to see if it’s in their homeowner’s or renter’s policy.”
"Don’t let them spin this and tell you it’s gotten better," Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said of Eversource. "It hasn't."
"Why were Eversource and United Illuminating so woefully underprepared once again?" wonders Attorney General William Tong.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) has asked Eversource to provide refunds to customers and hold off on rate increases and/or charges for restoring power; Eversource Chairman, President and CEO James J. Judge declined, the senator said.
The inquiry will help "determine whether the companies are meeting their legal obligations and whether any penalties need to be applied," Gov. Ned Lamont said. "The people of Connecticut deserve better than the service they are receiving.”
"These upgrades will save the city considerable money over the long-term and ultimately benefit the taxpayers of Bridgeport," says Mayor Joe Ganim.