Support Local News.

At a moment of historic disruption and change with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the calls for social and racial justice, there's never been more of a need for the kind of local, independent and unbiased journalism that The Day produces.
Please support our work by subscribing today.

Eversource CEO says he expects ratepayers to foot storm bills

The CEO of Eversource Energy says the utility expects to recover expenses associated with its response to Tropical Storm Isaias through charges on ratepayers.

During a conference call with analysts Wednesday, James Judge predicted the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority will ultimately rule that Eversource can recoup some of the $228 million it spent restoring power in Connecticut after Isaias, the most damaging storm of the summer, left around 675,000 people in the dark.

"I think PURA is investigating the prudence of the costs," Judge said. "We assembled the largest workforce ever in the state of Connecticut for that storm response, and the vast majority of the costs that are being reviewed have to do with bringing in those external resources, either from other utilities or from contractors. So we expect, as we have in the past, that cost recovery would be allowed for these costs as they were prudent."

Regulators have the final say over whether utilities can recover specific costs associated with natural disasters such as hurricanes and blizzards.

In 2019, for instance, PURA allowed Eversource to begin collecting an extra $141 million over six years to offset expenses from five particularly damaging storms in 2017 and 2018.

Aside from the storm compensation case, PURA is investigating both Eversource and United Illuminating Co. for their performance during and after Isaias.

In a series of public hearings as part of that docket, hundreds of customers have complained of being stuck without electricity for days on end as food and medicine spoiled. Some testified that they were trapped in their neighborhoods by downed power lines and trees.

Legislators have also weighed in, accusing Eversource in particular of essentially abandoning area towns in the thick of the crisis and leaving municipal officials to sort through emergency calls from residents.

Outrage over the utilities' handling of the storm spurred legislators to pass the "Take Back Our Grid Act," which limits certain energy rate increases and mandates financial compensation for customers who lose food or medicine during an extended power outage.

Though he avoided the media in the days and weeks after Isaias struck Connecticut, Judge has vehemently defended Eversource's emergency response efforts to lawmakers and regulators.



Loading comments...
Hide Comments