The Price of a Storm?

Posted on November 10, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

It’s finally lights on for Connecticut (or most of it, at least!), nearly two weeks after a rare October snowstorm plunged more than half of the state into darkness. The number of power outages eclipsed the number caused by Tropical Storm Irene in late August  and, with temperatures now falling considerably at night, more people had no choice but to find hotel rooms or huddle in high school gyms.

Once the lights started coming back on, the cost debate started again. Who pays for the massive effort required by CL&P and countless out-of-state crews?

Yesterday, Northeast Utilities announced it was establishing a $10 million fund to assist the residential customers of CL&P who suffered losses in the snowstorm. The fund, which amounts to “about $12 for each of the approximately 830,000 customers” without power, was immediately criticized as inadequate by legislators.

Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr. of Brooklyn recommended that CL&P credit customers up to $50 each to help compensate the losses suffered.

Time will tell if that credit comes to fruition but, in the meantime, CL&P has also agreed to a number of other actions, including:

  • Waiving late payment fees through 2011.
  • Arranging flexible payment programs for customers who suffered losses.
  • Providing residual tree-trimming and clean up assistance to towns at no charge.
  • Paying for an independent third party firm to conduct a review of the company’s preparedness and response.

But what will this do to the state? According to some experts, holiday and short-term spending may suffer due to high personal expenditures, but in the long-term, this storm “really won’t matter.”

As frequent CSCPA speaker and economist Donald Klepper-Smith told the Connecticut Mirror, “When you analyze this storm, the words that come to mind are ‘inconvenience’ and ‘lost productivity.’ I think it has siphoned off some discretionary income and it has the potential to lead some people to cut back on their spending.”

What were your losses stemming from Alfred? Will it put a crimp in your holiday spending?



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[…] Utilities announced today that their initial fund amount of $10 million was insufficient to reimburse the many customers without power for an extended amount of time after […]

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