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Gov. Lamont requests PURA to investigate Eversource and United Illuminating in response to outages

Lamont criticized Eversource for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars into modernizing its grid, but none of that showed.

BERLIN, Conn — Thousands of people across the state remained in the dark hours after the storm hit.

In a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Governor Ned Lamont demanded more urgency from Eversource to get everyone back up and running.

"This is electricity, this is life-giving to people," said Lamont.

Lamont empathized with the 700-thousand people who remained in the dark.

RELATED: Tropical Storm Isaias in CT: Eversource, UI says full restoration could take multiple days

"To Eversource's credit, they have 200-thousand people back online, but that's not enough for me," added Lamont.

Lamont criticized Eversource for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars into modernizing its grid but none of that showed.

"To be blunt, I don’t see much progress made from all the investments we’ve made in terms of hardening, strengthening and modernizing our grid," added Lamont.

One of the town's hardest hit where 90-percent of its residents lost power was Essex.

Senator Norm Needleman believed crews should have pre-positioned themselves days in advance knowing how bad the storm would be.

"They can’t pull people because of Covid from the East and from the south so now they’re relying on people coming from the north and they completely misunderstood and underestimated this storm," said Senator Norm Needleman of Essex.

The governor asked the state's utility regulator to conduct an investigation into both Eversource and United Illuminating.

He has asked PURA a list of requests:

  • Consider whether the utilities were adequately prepared and have the resources they need to handle large weather events
  • Evaluate their response and whether it met regulatory and statutory requirements
  • Determine whether their investments went towards their outage response system
  • Determine whether civil penalties should be applied

"I want to make sure that we put every person we can on the table to make sure we’re taking care of this. I don’t want any excuses we’re going to do some assessment," added Lamont.

FOX61 was told the chairman of Eversource, Jim Judge was in a meeting with Lamont but refused to come out to answer questions during the news conference.

Instead, their president Craig Hallstrom came outside.

"There’s no utility in the country that would staff to handle this type of magnitude. Several years, you’ll see our reliability has actually increased. Last year being the best year ever for Connecticut," said Craig Halstrom, president of Eversource Electric Operations.

Lamont added the state will be getting help from crews in New Hampshire, Vermont and Canada.

He has also activated the CT Guard to help clear trees and roadways, something he wants done by the end of the week.

RELATED: Gov. Lamont seeks federal emergency declaration; Calls for PURA investigation into Eversource, UI response to storm

RELATED: UI returns power to 38,000 customers but a long cleanup remains

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