NU estimates snowstorm costs at $162.8 million

Northeast Utilities will seek to recover $162.8 million from Connecticut ratepayers eventually to cover the cost of the pre-Halloween snowstorm, and another $92 million for Tropical Storm Irene.

The snowstorm cost is included in NU’s 8-K, a statement filed with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission. About 850,000 people lost power in Connecticut in October, and 830,000 during storm Irene.

The combined cost to Connecticut, some $254 million, would be recovered in separate rate cases, said NU spokesman Al Lara. They are estimates that would first have to be reviewed by state regulators “to determine that they were prudent,” he said.

“We would never treat them as a combined cost or ask for recovery together,” Lara said. “We would treat the two events separately.”

According to the SEC, NU estimates it would cost the company, which is the parent company of CL&P, $202.5 million overall for the October storm – $162.8 million at CL&P, $23.5 million for its Massachusetts Electric Co. subsidiary, and $16.2 million for its Public Service Co. of New Hampshire.

Lara added that overall costs for Tropical Storm Irene would total $102 million, with $10 million of that amount covering the Massachusetts and New Hampshire companies and $92 million the cost in Connecticut.

Recovering the costs likely wouldn’t occur until 2014, possibly later, he said.

“We have no plans at the moment to ask for recovery of these. We do intend to do so at some time in the future and it would be done before the regulatory agencies in the different states. It may be years away.”

Costs could also be amortized, or broken down, so the entire cost would not have to be borne in one year, Lara said. The practice has been used in past ice storms that proved costly, he said.

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