About 192,000 Connecticut residents who were without power for more than a week following the October snowstorm will get a $140.22 credit on their Connecticut Light and Power bill this month.
The credits will show up as “October snowstorm credit” under the “Your Account Summary” portion of eligible customers’ bills, according to a CL&P press release.
Around 225,000 customers were eligible for the credit. Jim Muntz, president and chief operating officer of CL&P, said the company made a 10-week effort to make sure all of them applied.
“Many heard from us multiple times through letters and phone calls – it was our way of demonstrating that their opportunity to apply was a priority for us, too,” he said.
Kenneth Feinberg, the claim fund administrator advising CL&P, said the fact that 80 percent applied for the credit was “extraordinary” given that claim fund response rates are usually around 20 percent.
“The claimants’ response is proof positive of the effectiveness of the company’s outreach,” he said. “… The credit program has been a victory for customers and CL&P.”
In a statement, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called the credits reimbursements that represent “a good first step in compensating our residents for the long-term outages that occurred as a result of the October Nor’easter.”
He said the real task will be making sure utilities are better prepared to deal with weather events in the future.
“In the coming days, we’re going to introduce a bill that will raise the standards and benchmarks that PURA will implement for utility companies, regulations that will provide a clear incentive for proper preparation and timely repairs,” he said.
Malloy has indicated that incentive will be fines if the utilities do not restore services by benchmarked deadlines. The governor has also announce plans to have the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection conduct a $650,000 statewide disaster drill to better prepare for large weather events, such as hurricanes.
Money for the CL&P credit comes from a $30 million fund its parent company Northeast Utilities set up in November. The company initially offered up $10 million, which Malloy called inadequate.
From that fund the company has issued $1 million grants to Connecticut Food Bank, Foodshare and Operation Fuel. Pat Wrice, Operation Fuel’s executive director said the grant will help people “facing true financial hardships as a result of a continuing difficult economy.”