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Blumenthal: CL&P Request To Charge Customers For Storm-Related Expenses ‘Unacceptable’

Utility worker (file/credit: CBS 2)

Utility worker (file/credit: CBS 2)

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HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Joe Courtney are urging state regulators to reject most of a request by Connecticut Light & Power Co. to charge customers $414 million for costs related to five destructive storms over the past two years.

According to CL&P, preparation and response to the storms was very expensive.

The Connecticut Democrats told the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority on Monday that CL&P’s responses to Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 and a snowstorm in October 2011 were inadequate. Extensive power outages resulted.

Blumenthal said the utility’s request is outrageous.

“I believe that these costs would very simply add insult to injury, they are unjustified and unacceptable and should be rejected,” Blumenthal told WCBS 880. “The ordinary consumer, business people, families would be hit with these additional costs at a time when our economy’s trying to recover when there is simply no justification for these additional damages to be charged to consumers.”

Blumenthal added hundreds of thousands of customers were left in the dark for up to 11 days.

The lawmakers also asked regulators to not force ratepayers to pay for other storm responses until CL&P’s parent company, Northeast Utilities, discloses the compensation of executives at NStar, a Boston-based utility NU bought for $5 billion last year.

“As a consumer told me, we lost power for 10 days and now they want to charge us extra for it,” said Blumenthal.

In a written statement, CL&P said the costs include bringing in outside line and tree workers and replacing damaged equipment.

What do you think of CL&P’s request? Sound off in the comments section below…

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)