HARTFORD – State Representative Irene Haines (R-34) voted in favor of legislation to reform Connecticut’s public utility regulations to address the failed tropical storm response and steep rate hikes from Eversource earlier this year.
The bill, “An Act Concerning Emergency Response by Electric Distribution Companies, the Regulation of Other Public Utilities and Nexus Provisions for Certain Disaster-Related or Emergency-Related Work Performed in the State” was passed by the House of Representatives during a special session on September 30th.
Ratepayers were rightly furious with Eversource’s failed response to Tropical Storm Isaias,” said Rep. Haines. “Customers in East Haddam, East Hampton, and Colchester went without power for days, and inadequate communication between Eversource and town governments prolonged road closures and slowed down storm recovery efforts.
The legislation makes many changes to the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) to establish performance-based regulation, extend rate case decision deadlines, increase civil penalties for failed emergency response, and establish customer credits for outages that cause food or medication to spoil after 96 hours.
“Connecticut residents pay among the highest rates in the country, and just recently Eversource had to back away from further rate increases,” noted Rep. Haines. “These reforms are a step in the right direction to ensure Connecticut ratepayers will get their money’s worth from our electric utility providers.”
The legislation was passed with strong bipartisan support 136-4 and now heads to the State Senate for consideration.