HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Malloy administration officials were dissatisfied with a $10 million offer by Northeast Utilities to compensate Connecticut customers who lost power for a week or more in a destructive October snow storm and discussed how to increase the amount, according to emails recently released by the governor's office.
One option was that the utility's initial offer of $10 million could be paid out as $3 per customer per day, Mike Caplet, deputy director of intergovernmental affairs for Gov. Dannel P. Mallloy, said in an email released in a Freedom of Information request by The Associated Press.
Another option could be $15 per customer per day if distributed differently, he said.
Ken Feinberg, an adviser brought in by Malloy, wrote in an email to administration officials on Nov. 15 that a check for $3 a day or $15 a day "will be politically laughable."
Feinberg, who administered funds for families of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and Gulf of Mexico residents and businesses damaged by the 2010 BP oil spill, was an adviser on the storm fund.
Northeast Utilities, the parent company of Connecticut Light & Power, tripled the $10 million offer on Nov. 29, saying customers who were without power for at least seven days were eligible for a credit of between $100 and $200. Charles Shivery, chairman, president and chief executive of Northeast Utilities, said at the time that the new $30 million offer was the result of comments from customers and Malloy.
Mitch Gross, a spokesman for Connecticut Light & Power, said Monday that the Malloy administration was "not pleased" with the initial $10 million. Increasing the amount "was our decision," he said.
"This was a sincere gesture to our customers who were out of power the longest," Gross said.
Feinberg proposed up to $175 reimbursed to customers without power for seven days and a credit on utility bills for those who lost power for fewer days. Some customers were without power for as long as 11 days from late October to early November.
Hundreds of thousands of business and individual customers were in the dark and without heat after the early season storm brought down branches, trees and power lines.
Tim Bannon, who at the time was Malloy's chief of staff, wrote in an email on Nov. 14 that Connecticut Light & Power did not believe customers should receive money until after the utility missed its self-imposed deadline of Nov. 6 to restore power for 99 percent of electric users.
"We believe otherwise," he said.
Power was fully restored Nov. 9.
The administration's task was to find a "reasonable point" at which eligibility would be established for a refund and provide refunds proportional to the extent of the outage, Bannon said. He asked Caplet to calculate a daily reimbursement rate and propose to Connecticut Light & Power an increase to a "meaningful level."
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