PURA to review utility response following Sandy - WFSB 3 Connecticut

PURA to review utility response following Sandy

Residents here have dealt with two big major storms in Connecticut and each has been a big test for the two utility companies in state.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority announced Friday that it has opened a formal docket to review the performance of the state's utility companies during Hurricane Sandy.

PURA said it would review the performance of Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating, as well as work completed by Connecticut Natural Gas, Yankee Gas and the Southern Connecticut Gas Company.

Otherwise known as Gov. Malloy's Storm Legislation Public Act 12-148 requires PURA to review utility companies when more than 10 percent of an electric distribution company's customers are left in the dark for more than 48 consecutive hours.

The standards to be reviewed include:

  • Emergency planning
  • Preparation for the specific storm
  • Restoration performance
  • Plans for mutual assistance and supplemental staff
  • Communications with municipal and other public officials

If PURA finds faults with how the state's utility companies handled Hurricane Sandy, it may order remedies in order to prevent problems with any future long duration power outages.

In West Haven, the Chiaramontes live about a block away from the water and told Eyewitness News dealing with Hurricane Sandy was scary.

"It was pretty bad," said Luciana Chiaramonte. "We were here. I thought we were going to lose the whole side of the house."

Even though the Chiaramontes only lost power for three days, Joseph Chiaramonte said the response by the utility companies has been "terrible."

"Well sometimes, they could go a little faster," said Luciana Chiaramonte.

UI told Eyewitness News that they were able to restore power back to all of their customers eight days after Hurricane Sandy. 

"It's part of the process, it's just that simple. We think we did well in the storm before, during, and after," UI said in a statement Friday. "We'll be full participants in the process."

CL&P said the review can help them figure out how to get better with every storm. 

"It is also an opportunity to share with regulators the many examples of positive feedback we heard from cities and towns that our communications and collaboration in the aftermath of Sandy were much improved from last year's storms," CL&P said in a statement Friday.

Some residents told Eyewitness News that they noticed improvement in the restoration efforts.

"I thought they did better than the last time," said Susan Heffernan, of West Haven. "I said they seemed to get everything cleaned up a little bit faster."

The governor's office told Eyewitness News that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is focused on helping people continue to recover from Sandy and is reserving judgement on the power companies until after this review is done.

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