Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Says CNG/Southern Will Receive New Level of Service and Safety Scrutiny

February 11, 2010

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said he is disappointed that Connecticut Natural Gas (CNG) and Southern Connecticut Gas Corporation (Southern) will be permitted to lay off workers -- but he praised the Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) for implementing new and intensified scrutiny over the companies.

Blumenthal said, "These companies are about to receive a new level of scrutiny -- sustained and intensified examination of their service reliability and safety. I am deeply disappointed that the DPUC has declined to block layoffs, but commend the Department for demanding frequent and full-scale reports of the companies' day-to-day operations to ensure that public safety and service are upheld.

"Ratepayers -- who pay 100 percent of the salaries of these gas employees -- are entitled to be sure that their service will be safe and reliable.

"CNG and Southern -- months after testifying that workforce reductions would compromise quality of service and safety if they could not increase rates -- now plan to slash jobs. By the companies' own estimates, these job cuts could be dead wrong -- literally endangering safety and service.

"More than the financial devastation posed to gas company employees and their families is the danger of catastrophe from understaffed companies responding to gas leak emergencies.

"Gas company employees -- technicians, dispatchers or others -- are the first responders to gas leaks and other emergencies that pose significant public safety threats. A stable and sound workforce is imperative at CNG and Southern -- and cannot be diminished."