Malloy's storm proposal authorizes benchmarks for utility performance

Simsbury -- Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today announced his package of storm preparedness initiatives, including a proposal for creating performance benchmarks for utility companies before and after a big storm.

The governor's legislative proposal would authorize the state's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to write and establish the benchmarks for utilities such as Connecticut Light & Power to follow. Malloy said there would be penalties for companies that fail to make preparations in advance of a storm or are too slow in restoring power.

Another initiative calls for a real-time training exercise involving state agencies, utilities and municipal governments to prepare for natural disasters and big storms. Malloy said he wants this exercise to happen no later than Sept. 1. He estimated the cost of the drill to be as much as $650,000.

Malloy also called for increasing the state Department of Transportation's tree maintenance budgeted by $1 million. The budget is currently $550,000.

"I hope along with a lot of folks that we never have a year like we just had, but we can't count on that," Malloy said at a news conference at Simbury's Town Hall.

The Hartford suburb was hard hit by both the autumn snowstorm and flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene.

The governor's announcement followed the release this week of a final report by the Two Storm Panel that had 82 recommendations for how Connecticut could improve its storm preparation.

CL&P spokesman Mitch Gross said the utility agrees with the governor "that we all must work together to take a collaborative, statewide approach to emergency preparedness and recovery."

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