AG Jepsen, Consumer Counsel Katz Welcome PURA Draft Decision
Delaying Any Closure of Eversource's Simsbury Work Center
Attorney General George Jepsen and Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz today welcomed a draft decision issued by the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) that would delay the proposed closure of Eversource Energy's facilities in Simsbury until more information is known about the impact of previous closing of work centers around the state.
"This is a prudent and thoughtful draft decision from PURA," said Attorney General Jepsen. "PURA correctly recognized that there is no direct highway access to the Simsbury area from either Hartford or Cheshire, which has the potential to make transportation to those areas difficult during a major weather event. This work center should not be closed unless and until the full, system-wide analysis demonstrates that doing so would not erode customer service and reliability in the surrounding towns."
"Simsbury was hit hard during the 2011 storms, with outages of up to two weeks, and area residents and businesses suffered greatly," Consumer Counsel Katz said. "People were trapped in their homes, and town officials worried about responding to an emergency if there was a fire or ambulance call. We appreciate that PURA is proposing to stay any decision to close the Eversource work center in that area until Eversource can show that closure would not adversely impact outage restoration times in the Simsbury area during storm conditions and in fair weather conditions as well."
"I am grateful to Attorney General Jepsen and Consumer Counsel Katz for their advocacy and to PURA for a decision which places the safety of our residents as the top priority," said Simsbury First Selectman Lisa L. Heavner. "PURA heard our concern that the proposed closure would negatively impact public safety by increasing response times to emergencies."
In October 2013, Eversource – then known as Northeast Utilities – announced plans to close seven Connecticut Light and Power facilities and three Yankee Gas facilities in the state. After a review of the proposed closings at the request of the Attorney General and the Consumer Counsel, PURA found that the facility closings "should produce a more efficient service organization at a lower cost," but ordered the company to submit a number of periodic compliance filings to report on such things as impact on travel time, impact on customer service and cost savings.
In January, Attorney General Jepsen and Consumer Counsel Katz requested that PURA open a docket
to examine the effects of Eversource's proposed closing of four additional facilities in the state, including the area work centers in Simsbury and Waterbury. The draft decision released in that docket will allow the closing of facilities in Glastonbury, Newington and Waterbury, but said that the Simsbury area work center will remain open until the first compliance filing – which is expected in October 2015 – is made and evaluated.
A final decision in this docket is expected to be issued by PURA in July.
Assistant Attorneys General Michael Wertheimer and John Wright are assisting the Attorney General with this matter. Attorney Joseph Rosenthal and Dave Thompson are assisting the Consumer Counsel with this matter.
Office of the Attorney General:
Jaclyn M. Falkowski
Office of the Consumer Counsel: