The loss of electricity that started on Tuesday afternoon and still has no restoration date for many communities in Connecticut was caused by more than gusty winds. Eversource was clearly unprepared. Because it knew the storm was coming and was supposed to have learned some lessons from previous hurricanes, Gov. Ned Lamont and state legislatures have been properly very critical of the Eversource monopoly and its top executives.
It is not too early to be specific as to what needs to be done:
1. Immediate investigatory hearings with subpoenas by the state legislature. The investigation should extend from Eversource and its contractors to PURA, the state ratifier of Eversource’s derelictions.
2. What additional legislation is needed to make the state’s regulatory system an arms-length reality?
3. What needs to be rebated in terms of suspended electricity service plus additional damages for economic losses, once Eversource’s level of negligence is determined?
4. What future investment requirements need to be imposed on Eversource to strengthen its infrastructure against highly likely future storms?
5. Determine the extent to which Eversource’s shareholders – institutional and individual – need additional authority, governance reforms, and rights to disclosure.
The above directions, among others to be sure, need to be part of the upcoming thorough public dialogue. Too much is at stake in the areas of health, safety, and the economy to allow another round of empty assurances, encased in heavy Eversource lobbying, to continue business as usual.
Ralph Nader of Winsted is a consumer advocate and former candidate for president of the United States.