Utility regulator: Eversource's response to Henri was better compared to Isaias in 2020
After Eversource was fined more than $28 million earlier this summer for its handling of Tropical Storm Isaias last year, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority said the power company was better prepared when Henri arrived.
"As the storm changed from a tropical storm to a hurricane the other day and headed straight for us, it did not look good," said Eversource spokesman Mitch Gross. He said by the time Henri made landfall, thousands of crews from as far away as Texas were on the ground in Connecticut.
"Some of those crews that were coming to Connecticut, hundreds of them, about 600 of them, were sent to Rhode Island to help our friends over there," Gross explained.
State regulators found Eversource had under-prepared for Tropical Storm Isaias last summer when some customers waited 10 days for their lights to come back on.
"We levied a civil penalty that was in the $28.6 million range for Eversource," said PURA chairman Marissa Gillett. She said the utility is getting a much better report card this time around.
"I think the pre-staging of the resources in advance is a good sign, as was the communication that we were witnessing," Gillett said.
"As the towns opened up their Emergency Operations Centers for Henri, community liaison was right there with them, in the EOC, having a conversation," Gross said.
Over 60,000 Eversource customers were affected by the storm, with less than 2,000 still out by Monday.
"It's all hands on deck to be sure we get the majority of those remaining customers back on by tonight," Gross reassured.
Regulators and utilities alike warned that Monday's rain could bring a few more outages.
"When you get to saturated soil like that, it can make trees that are already vulnerable more vulnerable, and topple onto utility infrastructure," Gillett said.
"Take a look at your surroundings, be aware of your surroundings. It's all about staying safe," Gross advised.
Officials said tropical depression Henri affected roughly 2% of Eversource customers.