Sen. Hwang Comments On Utility Reform

Fairfield, CT - The bills handled at today’s session, while important in their own right, lacked any mention of the looming budget deficit, business closures, nursing home management, or any other true emergencies that our state faces during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

That fact made me uncomfortable to be called into Hartford to debate and vote on measures which lacked a proper committee process or any public input.

That said, I voted today in support of HB 7006 because it sets up the framework to start enacting some real reform when it comes to Connecticut’s public utilities and its disastrous treatment of its customers. It is a start to address the trauma and frustration experiences by consumers this summer as they received dramatically increased billing rates or sat in the dark, some for over a week.

We passed performance based regulations on electric distribution companies so we can tie rates to their services provided.

We increased the civil penalty for a lack of performance in an emergency event.

We put programs in place for residential customer credits for bills for time without power and a program for residential spoiled food and expired medication reimbursement.

Also, the bill aims to improve communication with municipalities and improve resilience of Connecticut’s system.

This year has been an incredible disappointment on the service provided by both United Illuminating and Eversource. Specifically following Tropical Storm Isaias, electric distribution companies should have actively sought out ways to make their customers whole by offering reimbursements for losses, and showing a detailed plan indicating how this will never happen again.

My statements are not a reflection on the hardworking men and women on the front-lines working to restore power and communicate with what little info they have from management. This is about failure at the top which focused more on executive compensation than fulfilling the basic responsibilities of the company.