HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Attorney General William Tong’s office announced the AG has escalated his legal actions against Eversource and United Illuminating (UI) for what he calls their “failed storm response.”
Tong demanded that the state’s regulatory agency, PURA, open legal proceedings that would enable the AG to seek fines, penalties, and injunctive relief; and oppose the utilities’ requests for profits and reimbursement of storm-related costs.
“Consumers are justifiably outraged by the unacceptable response to this storm, and we are relying on PURA’s investigation for answers and accountability. After the 2011 storms, ratepayers invested millions of dollars in communications upgrades, tree trimming, and system resiliency to prevent exactly this kind of debacle. Why were Eversource and United Illuminating so woefully underprepared once again? They owe all of us a detailed explanation for their staffing policies, their weather forecasting, the models and simulations they used to test their IT systems, and more. PURA must clearly and unequivocally preserve all possible options to impose the strongest fines and penalties without delay. I will use the full weight of my authority throughout this investigation to hold Eversource and UI accountable for this stunning failure,” said Attorney General Tong.
Tong also says he filed his series of questions for PURA’s investigation, asking the companies for detailed information regarding their storm preparation and management.
In an interview with AG Tong Tuesday, News 8 asked him if he intends to impose fines on Eversource – how the fines could be kept from being passed onto customers.
“I think it should come from their bottom line, from their profits,” he said.
He added that ratepayers should get refunds for credits for what they’ve endured and says he has not heard from the CEO of Eversource James Judge about this. He would like Judge to appear before the legislature to tackle questions about the response.
The release from the Attorney General’s office includes all of those questions for the investigation and can be found online here.
A public hearing on Eversource’s pre-Isaias rate hikes will be heard later this month. The virtual meeting will be held Aug. 24 via Zoom. The public can send letters via mail or email. State regulators had approved the rate hike. Now they’ve suspended it and are revisiting if it is appropriate.