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State lawmakers seek major overhaul of power companies during hearing

Customers and lawmakers argued during a hearing Tuesday that power companies should pay people during major power outages.

News 12 Staff

Sep 8, 2020, 9:31 PM

Updated 1,382 days ago

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Customers and lawmakers argued during a hearing Tuesday that power companies should pay people during major power outages.
Following Tropical Storm Isaias, it took 10 days to turn the power fully back on in the state. State lawmakers are seeking a major overhaul of power companies with the Take Back Our Grid Act, which would give customers a $125 credit on their bills each day after three days in the dark.
Customers would also be given up to $500 back on spoiled food and another $500 for lost medications.
"I agree that we can learn, and we can do better," says Eversource CEO Jim Judge.
He says, though, that the plan would backfire and lead to much higher electric bills.
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"If you set a restoration deadline by law, we must work to abide by that deadline, which will come at a massive cost," Judge says. "We'll need to hire and pay hundreds of thousands of crews all year long, so that they're committed to us."
Not so, says the state's top utility regulator.
"Those kinds of arguments have not borne out in other jurisdictions. They've been used for decades," says Marissa Gillett, the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority chair.
Also, power companies would have to reopen regional "work centers," and instead of guaranteed profits, rates would now be tied to how well the utilities perform.
"And why would they care? They have a monopoly with a built-in, guaranteed profit," says Hebron First Selectman John Collins.
Eversource also says if this bill passes, it will have less money to improve the power grid, which would mean more outages.


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