Setting Standards for Summer Storms

Posted on August 13, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Are you worried about the possibility of losing power for a week because of a summer storm? At this time last year, thousands of Connecticut residents suffered through that experience because of Tropical Storm Irene. Then the freak Halloween snow storm arrived in late October and plunged many of us into darkness again.

Government officials pledged to take action to ensure that power companies will be better prepared for future emergencies. After months of debate, two weeks ago, Governor Malloy signed An Act Enhancing Emergency Preparedness and Response into law.

Does the law establish strict new standards for utility companies? Or find funding sources to pay for projects that move overhead wires underground? Or create new teams that can help clear our roads after weather emergencies?

Well … not exactly. Although Section 3 of the Act does require the “Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (to) initiate a docket to establish industry specific standards for acceptable performance,” it does not actually establish any standards. Nor does it explicitly identify any sources of funds to finance new teams or other response capabilities.

Instead, the Act appears to call on our existing government officials to work with our existing utility company executives to modify our existing plans and standards. Will this result in any improvement to the status quo? We can certainly hope so … but we might also wish to replenish our supplies of candles and bottled water, just to be safe!

Contributed by Michael Kraten, PhD, CPA, Accounting Professor at Providence College and President of Enterprise Mgt. Corp.


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