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National Grid Penalized $750,000 for 2017 Storm Response

January 22, 2019
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By Michael P. Norton

State House News Service

BOSTON -- Regulators slapped National Grid with a $750,000 penalty Tuesday, saying the utility failed to comply with state guidelines or their own emergency response plan when faced with an 2017 windstorm that affected electric customers in 166 communities.

The storm affected more than 330,000 customers and Department of Public Utilities regulators reported that fewer resources were available to customers affected by outages because National Grid did not properly classify the severity of the storm.

National Grid also failed to adequately communicate with its customers or public officials during its October 2017 storm response.

Under the penalty order, the utility must change its emergency response plan to update its communication protocols.

“The Department of Public Utilities is committed to ensuring electric ratepayers across the commonwealth are provided with a high level of service, especially during times of extreme weather events,” DPU Chair Angela O’Connor said in a statement. “Following a comprehensive investigation which focused on preparations before the storm, restoration efforts after the storm, and communications with affected communities, the Department found that National Grid’s storm response did not meet existing protocols and did not provide the required restoration efforts to its ratepayers. The Department will continue to work with utilities across the Commonwealth to ensure that storm response plans are focused on increasing reliability for ratepayers.”

Under the order, the $750,000 penalty will be credited back to customers and National Grid has 30 days to submit a proposal to the DPU outlining its plan to do that.

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