Posted on October 2, 2020
HARTFORD – State Representative Holly Cheeseman (R-37) voted in favor of legislation that reforms Connecticut’s public utility regulations and addresses the failed tropical storm response and steep rate hikes from Eversource earlier this year.
Rep. Cheeseman also co-sponsored the legislation, House Bill 7006 “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” which was passed by the House of Representatives during a special session on September 30th.
“The failure of Eversource to plan for and respond to Tropical Storm Isaias caused widespread and prolonged outages with many customers in Salem and East Lyme going without electricity for days,” said Rep. Cheeseman. “Adding to the confusion was inadequate communication between the utility provider and local officials trying to clear roads and restore access. These failures created a dangerous and unacceptable situation that could have been mitigated with proper planning.”
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.
“This bill moves us in the right direction to hold utilities accountable to the customers they serve,” commented Rep. Cheeseman. “Connecticut residents deserve better from our large utility providers, especially since customers here pay among the highest electric bills in the nation. I hope the provisions of this bill will help protect against future unexpected rate hikes and give ratepayers a better value for their money.”
The legislation was passed with strong bipartisan support in the House of Representatives 136-4 and was passed by the State Senate 35-0.