SPEAKER DONOVAN, MAJORITY LEADER SHARKEY: POWER RESTORATION FIRST, THEN LEGISLATION NEEDED TO ADDRESS UTILITY COMPANY RESPONSE
House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan (D-Meriden) this evening said "legislation is clearly needed to address the significant shortcomings of the utility companies’ response to both Tropical Storm Irene and last weekend’s snowstorm. Reliable electricity is a high priority for the state, and legislative proposals need to be developed following investigation and fact-finding hearings. A legislative session to consider bills will follow."
First, however, he said the state’s focus needs to be on the full restoration of power to hundreds of thousands of residents and businesses still left in the dark by last weekend’s snowstorm.
"Thousands are still suffering," Speaker Donovan said. "The priority is to get the power back on 100 percent. When that has been accomplished, we need to develop legislation that makes sure our utilities are better prepared to serve the public."
Speaker Donovan and State Rep. Vickie Nardello (D-Prospect) earlier this week said they would propose legislation to require PURA to create standards of acceptable performance for utility companies. Failure to meet those standards would result in significant penalties for the utilities — that will be paid by shareholders, not customers, and refunded to the customers. "That proposal and others that are being raised will be considered," Speaker Donovan said.
House Majority Leader Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden) said, "These past few months have tried the patience of the people of Connecticut and called into question the ability of our utilities to adequately respond to severe weather and life-threatening conditions. I share that frustration and look forward to working with my colleagues to find meaningful solutions to the problem."