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Blumenthal tours remaining towns without power; calls on Eversource to not bill customers for storm cleanup costs

Connecticut

MADISON, Conn. (WTNH) — Clean-up and restoration efforts continue in communities all across the state, following last week’s storm. On Monday, Senator Richard Blumenthal is meeting with officials in three towns to get a closer look at the damage and what work still needs to be done.

The U.S. senator visited a Madison grocery store in the morning to see how they’re picking up the pieces, after losing power for days.

The lights are now back on at Robert’s Food Center in Madison after power was knocked out during last week’s storm.

“We were able to save some product in refrigerated trucks, but it was limited what we could save safely,” said Zach Fusco, Co-Owner, Robert’s Food Center in Madison.

This family-run business, run by father-son duo Robert and Zach Fusco, took a hit. And they tell News 8, once they lost power, they had to toss hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of food.

“All dairy was thrown out, all frozen… majority of meat. Whatever is saved out will have to be tossed too. It’s almost seven days,” said Robert Fusco, Co-Owner, Robert’s Food Center in Madison.

They’ve been busy Monday, cleaning the store, restocking shelves, and waiting for more product to arrive.

“We’ve already been on the phones all night with the wholesalers and partners trying to get trucks in,” said Zach Fusco.

Senator Richard Blumenthal visited the store, speaking with Robert and Zach about what happened and the response from energy provider, Eversource.

“This company owes refunds right now. What they did was roll the dice. They made a bad bet that the storm would pass us by. Now they are asking us to pay for that bad bet,” said Senator Blumenthal.

Blumenthal tweeted a series of messages Sunday saying, if Eversource tries passing the storm cleanup costs onto customers, he’ll fight it.

He also told the power company it needs to do more for customers impacted by power outages after the tropical storm hit the state Tuesday.

Senator Blumenthal told News 8 Sunday, “I’m calling for rebates to be made as soon as possible to consumers. This company is rolling in money. The top executives are collecting tens of millions of dollars in pay. Consumers deserve money back, refunds, and respect. And that money back in their pockets should cover their costs for the loss of electricity, food, and other expenses they’ve incurred. The danger now is that Eversource is going to try and lay its costs of restoring power on consumers. No way.”

Sen. Blumenthal said Eversource can afford to give consumers their money back. The company made seven times more profit in this year’s first quarter in comparison to last year’s first quarter.

Following the senator’s warning, Eversource responded by saying their focus is currently cleanup and restoration, not customer costs.

President of Regional Electric Operations Craig Hallstrom explained, “I’ll be honest with you, my mission right now – my goal – is to get everyone’s lights on. Those questions and those type of processes will be handled afterwards and that’s when we will address the costs and those types of things. There are procedures, policies, and laws that address those things. But right now, my goal is to get people’s lights on.”

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