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PURA plans formal review of CL&P’s storm performance

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) has opened a formal docket to review the performance of Connecticut’s electric distribution companies and other public service companies in preparing for and responding to Storm Sandy.

Public Act 12-148, otherwise known as Gov. Malloy’s Storm Legislation, requires PURA to review utility company performance when more than 10% of an electric distribution company’s customers are without service for more than 48 consecutive hours, which was the case during Sandy.

Last May, in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene and an October nor’easter, the state legislature approved an emergency response bill initiated by the governor. The bill allowed PURA to establish minimum standards of performance for utility companies, among other things. PURA receives its regulatory authority from the state legislature.

Mitch Gross, Connecticut Light and Power (CL&P) spokesperson, said the company appreciates the comments it receives from municipalities and the public.

“We heard a lot of positive feedback from towns,” he said on communication and collaboration, which were described as “much improved.”

“We see every storm as a learning experience,” he said. “We will work with … all communities we serve to see where further improvements might be made.”

Mr. Gross said his company is looking forward to participating in the PURA review and to continuing its own internal examination of its performance “in a top to bottom review.”

According to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (EPA), information on PURA’s recent investigation, Docket No. 12-11-07, including all documents and rulings, will be updated continuously and can be found at ct.gov/pura.

The investigation will cover the state’s two major electric distribution companies: CL&P and The United Illuminating Company (UI), and also Connecticut Natural Gas Corporation, Yankee Gas Services Company and The Southern Connecticut Gas Company.

PURA will investigate the state’s telecommunications companies, cable television providers’ and water companies’ performance in a separate proceeding.

PURA’s standard regulatory investigation following major storms, since Storm Gloria in 1985, includes a forensic review of the performance of the electric distribution companies and the gas local distribution companies.

Their performance will be evaluated against the Gas and Electric Company Performance Standards PURA recently approved. The standards will include:

• Emergency planning

• Preparation for the specific storm

• Restoration performance

• Plans for mutual assistance and supplemental staff

• Communications with municipal and other public officials

PURA invites written and electronic comments from the public, including town officials, regarding their experience with the electric and natural gas utility companies in the aftermath of Storm Sandy. Comments will be accepted until the close of the administrative record of Docket No. 12-11-07.

Anyone wishing to comment on the docket can do so through public hearings that will be scheduled, the PURA web filing system at ct.gov/pura, or by email at dpuc.executivesecretary@po.state.ct.us or by sending written comments to: Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, Executive Secretary’s Office, 10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051.

At the conclusion of this investigation the authority may order specific remedies, compliance filings and orders. In addition, PURA may determine whether other sanctions are warranted.

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