Skip to comments.Massachusetts Senate approves bill aimed at improving response by utilities to major storms
Posted on 02/17/2012 4:53:29 PM PST by matt04
In the wake of complaints about slow responses by utilities to the freak October snowstorm, the Massachusetts Senate Thursday unanimously approved a bill that requires utilities to provide customers without power twice-daily estimates of when electricity would be restored.
The bill also mandates that utilities pay a new assessment to help finance costs of a state investigation into utility performance during a storm.
The bill also seeks to hold utilities accountable by assuring that all state-imposed penalties on utilities for violations of their storm response plans are distributed to affected customers via a credit. The credit would be based upon a customer's use of power during the month or months the penalty was incurred, senators said.
Attorney General Martha Coakley cheered approval of the bill. Coakley had sought the measure that directs all penalties paid by utilities back to affected customers through rate credits.
According to a release by Sen. Gale D. Candaras, a Wilbraham Democrat, the bill requires public utility companies to provide twice-daily estimates to customers on when electricity will be restored following a 24-hour damage assessment period, and to set up a call center during a major storm. The call center must be located in Massachusetts and must have sufficient staffing to handle increases in calls.
Candaras spoke out during one hearing on the Oct. 29 storm.
In addition, utilities will pay an assessment charge to help the state Department of Public Utilities pay for storm investigations. The cost of this assessment cannot be passed on to customers.
Those affected by the numerous storms of 2011 know firsthand the hardships of being without power for an extended period," Candaras said. "This legislation will work towards making utility companies more responsible and communicative to their customers."
(Excerpt) Read more at masslive.com ...
I though the idea of call centers was they could be located anywhere and if one failed they could route calls over to another. What good is putting a call center in the disaster area where roads are a mess, electricity is out and telephone/internet connectivity are questionable.
They restored power to the business centers so gasoline and fresh food was available almost immediately. Then they got to work on residential areas.
This is nothing more than political grandstanding and will cost the consumers more money.
Amen. I live in Western Ma too. I went out the morning after and walked around. I figured at least two weeks without power. We got it back in one.
Candaras and Scott Brown sounded like a couple of pussies whining on the radio during the whole thing.
They should learn a little about utilities construction before they cry. Do they think the wires magically leap up off the spool and climb up the poles?
Had problems during Oct Blizzard here in NJ with clowns from local utility
Belong to local FD and we were waiting for them to respond
Were watching downed power line on fire in driveway
waiting for them to respond - took 3 days . When truck did
arrive was called by dispatcher and told to drop it as not
on “priority list” - the electrician said give me 5 minutes
and can cut the power to burning line. Told to drop it
Was listening to scanner during storm while we were responding to calls - heard fire chief pleading with police
dispatcher to get utility there to shut off burning power line Was told “not a priority” - said “HOUSE IS ON FIRE IS
THAT PRIORITY ENOUGH!”
I live in CT. I couldn’t listen to Malloy’s daily press conferences after the 2nd day. It was nothing more than him whining about how it is not fair to the residents, how he is doing everything he can (not), then calling up representatives from various utilities to throw them under the bus.
Let me guess who will get it in the “end” with all the fees, taxes and requirements? Betcha it won’t be the unions, politicians, or regulators!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.