HARTFORD, CT (CBSNewYork / AP) – Gov. Dan Malloy believes setting benchmarks for Connecticut utilities will improve their response to storms.

WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau On The Story

The governor proposed penalizing the utilities if they fail to make storm-related repairs in a timely manner.

“I think once standards are established, then everyone needs to know that there are consequences to not meeting those standards,” Malloy said.

To better prepare for big storms with damaging consequences, Malloy proposes a large-scale emergency training exercise to be staged sometime this summer.

Malloy unveiled his initiatives at a news conference in Simsbury, where some residents were left without power for 12 days following a freak October snowstorm.

His plan also calls for increasing the Department of Transportation’s $550,000 tree maintenance budget by $1 million and a real-time statewide preparedness training exercise, to be held before September, at a cost of up to $650,000.

All of this is in response to dozens of proposals set forth by the governor’s Two Storm Panel, seated after the two big storms last year, which left Connecticut crippled with power outages.

A private firm, Witt Associates, recently provided Malloy with additional recommendations following its review of how the state’s electric utilities prepared for and responded to the two massive storms. Malloy’s administration used the two reports, plus its own work, to come up with package of proposals.

The governor’s so-called Two Storm Panel included several suggestions about training exercises, including ones that involve the various utilities, cities and towns, the state of Connecticut and major stakeholders, including the American Red Cross. They also suggested regional training exercises so municipalities can work together and share resources.

Malloy said his administration is taking a “step-by-step approach” toward improving the state’s preparedness and emergency response systems.

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