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Northeast Utilities has agreed to pay a statewide fuel-assistance program $2.5 million in lieu of facing penalties in the question of whether its subsidiary, Connecticut Light & Power, impeded an investigation into power-restoration efforts after an October 2011 storm that shut down the state.
Attorney General George Jepsen announced today that he would withdraw a petition filed against CL&P with the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. In return, he said, NU would make a $2.5 million donation to Operation Fuel, which provides heating help for thousands of low-income residents.
“This is a true compromise,” Jepsen said in a statement. “While I am agreeing to disagree with CL&P on whether its conduct in the PURA investigation was appropriate, we can agree that directing substantial funds to Operation Fuel is a vitally important and meaningful result.”
“These funds will make a significant impact in helping to improve the lives of those in need in all areas of Connecticut,” Pat Wrice, director of Operation Fuel, said in a statement.
Operation Fuel’s program offered $3.5 million in energy assistance to more than 8,200 Connecticut homes last year. Another $600,000 in funding went to local fuel banks, helping about 21,000 people in need.
But Operation Fuel, which gets funding from the state, corporations, foundations and individual donors, has been hit hard this winter, and its finances were strapped. The $2.5 million is the largest amount CL&P has ever donated to the program.
Last year, Jepsen filed a petitioned maintaining that CL&P failed to disclose all relevant information about its storm-recovery efforts after the 2011 Nor’easter. CL&P has maintained it cooperated fully.
“CL&P’s response to subsequent weather events has improved, and we have worked to improve communications with the company so that disputes of this nature are less likely to occur in the future,” Jepsen said.