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Town of Vernon sends Eversource an electric bill

Photo by John@Flickr.com

The Town of Vernon has sent its own bill to Eversource, demanding $84,000 in reimbursement for costs the town incurred during a nearly-statewide blackout following Tropical Storm Isaias.

“The Town of Vernon sustained significant monetary damages directly attributable to Eversource’s lack of preparedness and inability to adequately respond to power outages and downed electrical wires,” wrote Town Administrator and Emergency & Risk Management Director Michael Purcaro.

The letter dated August 28 was copied to Vernon Mayor and State Senator Daniel Champagne, R-Vernon, Gov. Ned Lamont and Sen. Norm Needleman, D-Essex, who is head of the state’s Energy and Technology Committee, among others.

“The cost to Vernon taxpayers for the local municipal response to Tropical Storm Isaias in labor, equipment usage and other services currently exceeds $140,000,” Purcaro wrote. “It is justly estimated that 60% or $84,000 of these costs could have been avoided had Eversource restored the power outages and repaired downed electrical wires in a timely and efficient manner.”

Tropical Storm Isaias left more than 600,000 homes and businesses in Connecticut without power due to falling trees and downed wires and it took upwards of a week for power to be restored. The number and length of the outages surpassed that of other major storms like Tropical Storm Sandy in 2012.

The outages and storm damage prompted Gov. Ned Lamont to declare a state of emergency.

Eversource, the state’s largest electric distribution company, brought in repair crews from as far away as Canada to help restore power.

For its part, Eversource claims it could not have foreseen the massive amount of power outages and feels their response to the outages was a success story, saying they restored power faster than similar storms in earlier years. 

The Town of Vernon, however, disagrees and says, “we are still in the dark on how this epic failure on Eversource’s part will be corrected and prevented from happening again.”

The Hartford Courant also reported that emails from the Eversource Energy Center at UConn showed that UConn researchers forecasted the storm would cause twice as many outages than previously predicted, however, those warnings came just hours before the storm hit.

Eversource, already under scrutiny by lawmakers for raising its electric rates, is in the hot seat again over the outages and the lengthy amount of time it took to get power restored. Eversource CEO James Judge fielded questions from lawmakers Thursday over Eversource’s storm preparedness and response.

The letter from Vernon noted that Eversource’s power outage hotline “went down” and the town was overwhelmed with 911 calls to its dispatch centers.

“Eversource failed in virtually every aspect of its response to the storm,” the letter reads. “Demand is made on behalf of the taxpayers of the Town of Vernon that Eversource reimburse the municipality the sum of $84,000.”

Another series of powerful storms hit a much smaller swath of Connecticut on Thursday creating more damages and upwards of 60,000 power outages. Lamont has declared a state of emergency in response and has deployed 100 National Guard personnel to help with the clean-up.

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(4) Comments

  1. Thad Stewart

    August 29, 2020 4:00 pm

    If you do the research, the top brass at NEVERSOURCE basically got rid of the blue collar side of the business in order to put more money in their pockets. If you noticed, most of the linesmen were from out of state. Neversource wanted the workers to become independent contractors so they again could give themselves huge bonuses. When the outside contractors were called in they basically told their old bosses to sit on a fork and spin. A terrible way to treat all of your customers. GREED one of the seven deadly sins. These so called leaders need to face stiff fines and possible jail time for the steps taken to enrich themselves.

    • Ann

      August 30, 2020 11:18 am

      For you work for Eversource? are you an Electrical engineer, electrician or know anything about power?
      do you know that most if the trees that fell where on customer owned property that is not within in the trimming guidelines. also, tree removal from roads are the responsibility if the towns per the ERP that is in tandem with the State. Eversource can’t assess or repair damage until the roads are clear. maybe ask Lamont why he didn’t stage the National Guard before the storm. instead of waiting 48 hours to do so. Employee & contractor & customer safety is priority. restoring high volatage lines is not a simple task.
      also. maybe find out why PURA approved the July rated some of which are State mandated. you should look at your kWh usage before saying it’s because of the rates. maybe check your 3rd party supplier too. many peoples supplier rate went down significantly. the multiple heat waves and being me cooking & using power you would not normally use while at work makes a difference in the amount of your bill.

      • Tom

        September 22, 2020 1:44 am

        That’s right Ann, blame the towns, blame Lamont, whine and moan about how hard it is to restore high voltage lines. It’s not a simple task because YOU PEOPLE NEVER SHOWED UP TO DO THE WORK!
        Instead of blaming everyone else how about you take a little responsibility for this company you work for, which is clearly little more than a criminal enterprise. Delivery fee my ass. You people are disgusting and should be out of business. Enjoy your golden parachute after you’re done capitalizing from the loss and misery of others. Disgusting.

  2. Mary Ann Menard

    August 28, 2020 4:14 pm

    I live in Woodstock, am eighty years old and when I tried to call Eversource I was met with a nasty message saying there would be a 90 minute wait if I wished to report my outage. I carted and poured gasoline into the generator for seven days and nights. I have a ten inch titanium plate holding my right femur together, so this was an absolute horror on top of the massive increase in delivery charge at the same time. I feel that they should be held accountable. Thank you!

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