Big fines for utility companies for Irene, October snowstorm

BOSTON (WWLP) — The state’s three biggest utility companies are facing a total of $24.8 million in fines for their response to Tropical Storm Irene and the October Nor’Easter.

The Department of Public Utilities announced the fines in Boston on Tuesday morning. Attorney General Martha Coakley had sought fines against the utility companies following the storms, which knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers last year. The Nor’Easter in particular left many thousands without power for a week’s time.

National Grid received the largest fine, totaling $18.7 million, for their alleged failure to coordinate with the affected towns. Western Massachusetts Electric Company, our region’s largest utility, was fined $2 million. State regulators said they were unhappy with their response to downed power lines and trees, and alleged failure to prepare for the storms.

NStar, which serves customers in the Boston area, South Shore, Cape Cod, and Martha’s Vineyard, was fined $4 million.

The DPU says that the fees cannot be passed on to ratepayers. The utilities have the option to appeal.

Regulators said that the fines work to protect customers, as they are happy with the utility companies’ response to Hurricane Sandy.

Copyright 2014 WWLP TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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