Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen says he’s still not totally thrilled with the performance of the state’s largest utility following the freak October snowstorm of 2011, or how the company responded to the state evaluation.
Still, Jepsen says he’s closing his investigation into Connecticut Light & Power after CL&P’s parent company, Northeast Utilities, agreed to donate $2.5 million to Operation Fuel, a nonprofit which provides heating assistance and financial help for energy-saving initiatives.
Jepsen had previous accused CL&P of impeding the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) during the authority’s investigation of the utility’s power restoration after the 2011 Nor’easter. Jepsen wanted penalties imposed on the utility because, he claimed, it failed to disclose all relevant information about post-storm electricity restoration efforts. CL&P maintains that it did not commit any wrongdoing in PURA’s investigation.
“This negotiated agreement is a satisfactory resolution to this matter and will provide welcome support for Operation Fuel,” Jepsen said in a prepared statement. “This is a true compromise. While I am agreeing to disagree with CL&P on whether its conduct in the PURA investigation was appropriate, we can agree that directing substantial funds to Operation Fuel is a vitally important and meaningful result.”
Jepsen said that in the past three years, CL&P’s response to power outages caused by extreme weather has improved, and that the state has “worked to improve communications with the company so that disputes of this nature are less likely to occur in the future.”
Operation Fuel is funded by donations from corporations, foundations and individuals as well as grants from the state of Connecticut. In the past year, it has provided more than $3.5 million in energy assistance to more than 8,200 households. The $2.5 million represents the largest single donation that NU has ever made to Operation Fuel.
“These funds will make a significant impact in helping to improve the lives of those in need in all areas of Connecticut,” said Pat Wrice, director of Operation Fuel. It will aid “those who cannot afford to heat their homes in winter or cool them in summer.”