Updated: Monday, 09 Jan 2012, 6:29 PM EST
Published : Monday, 09 Jan 2012, 6:15 AM EST
Hartford, Conn. (WTNH) - New building codes for the shoreline and tougher standards for the utility companies are among the recommendations of the Governor's Two Storm committee in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene in August and the Autumn Nor'easter in late October.
Over the past two months this special committee has heard from the utility companies, town leaders, and first responders and has come up with 82 recommendations. [Read the report here]
Monday morning, the committee of community and business leaders held their final meeting and approved their final report and presented it to the Governor.
Among those is a recommendation that the utility companies be held to some sort of standards for the amount of time it takes to get the lights back on and the consideration of some sort of fine, as is done in Massachusetts, if those standards are not met.
The report calls for more cooperation with the towns on tree trimming.
The committee also recommended setting standards for back up power for wireless tower sites because so many people are now depending on them as their primary source of communication.
A recommendation is also on the table that the entire power-line system must be hardened as soon as possible.
CL&P has said it would cost over 2 billion dollars to make the system 30 to 40 percent stronger, translating to at least a 10 percent hike per CL&P bill.
"Will the public be willing to support an increase in their monthly bill in exchange for an increase in the resiliency of the strength of the system? This is the great public debate," said Joe McGee, a co-chair of the Panel.
The pummeling received by homes in East Haven during Tropical Storm Irene in August is prompting a recommendation that new standards be incorporated into shoreline building codes. Experts told the Two Storm committee that Long Island Sound will rise at least a foot in the next forty years and three to five feet by the end of this century.
"The impact of that on the shoreline is quite extraordinary," said McGee, "and so, for Connecticut that whole issue of engineering standards, how you protect infrastructure along the coast from sea rise is a real issue."
That would not only have an impact on the cost of building and maintaining a home along the shoreline, but also for the state and municipalities to maintain sewer treatment plants and storm drainage systems.
"Because of climate change, we simply have to expect more hard weather and it happening more frequently," said Gov. Dannel Malloy.
The Governor says he expects to formulate legislative and regulatory proposals from this report and announce them before the end of the week.