‘People over profits’: Sen. Blumenthal applies pressure on utility companies to be better prepared for outages

Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Last August, a tropical storm in the middle of a pandemic turned devastating and left thousands in the dark for days.

As Connecticut prepares for Tropical Storm Elsa, Connecticut’s senior senator sent a letter to Eversource executives calling on them to do more. But the utility says he’s creating fear.

“A repeat of the last tropical storm Isais is simply intolerable,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Sen. Blumenthal is calling on Eversource to gear up ahead of the tropical storm that is expecting to make landfall in Connecticut Friday morning.

RELATED: What to know: Tropical Storm Elsa set to hit Connecticut Friday morning

“They better have the crews, the equipment, managers on the ground to respond. And they better be prepared to face the costs if people lose food, prescription drugs, property, other kids of consequences after this storm,” said Sen. Blumenthal.

Back in April, state regulators found the utility failed to adequately respond to Tropical Storm Isaias and called for improvements to emergency response.

But Blumenthal says a repeat of Isaias should come with harsh consequences. Tougher than a recent law passed by state lawmakers creating performance-based penalties.

Connecticut Attorney General’s Office said it received lots of feedback about communication issues last year.

“Eversource needs to a better job communicating both with customers, municipal leaders, and state officials and I think they know that,” said Peggy Chapple, Deputy Attorney General of Connecticut.

RELATED: Connecticut marinas issue alerts to boat owners as Tropical Storm Elsa approaches

While Blumenthal asks for proof of preparation, a spokeswoman for Eversource said the senator’s “rabble-rousing comments” create fear and the utility has been on top of the storm track all week.

“We’ve brought in hundreds of additional line crews to assist with restoration starting last Sunday,” said Tricia Taskey Modifica, Eversource spokesperson. “We are pre-positioning equipment and crews at our work centers around the state.”

Eversource says it cannot stop the storm from causing outages, but it is ready to respond.

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