Northeast Storm

December 8, 2011 by staff 

Northeast Storm, Northeast Utilities will look to Connecticut ratepayers to cover the $162.8 million cost of the freak October snowstorm, as well as $92 million for Tropical Storm Irene.

The storms’ cost was disclosed in an NU regulatory statement filed with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.

“This was an extraordinary storm bringing with it extraordinary costs, not just to utilities but to consumers and everyone who lived through it,” said Consumer Counsel Elin Katz, referring to the October storm that cut power to 850,000 homes and businesses.

Tropical Storm Irene, a downgraded hurricane, cut power to about 830,000 homes.

Katz’s staff attorney, Joe Rosenthal, said the combined cost of the two storms, some $254 million, is about one-quarter the cost of a very large, brand new power plant.

The total cost would be recovered in separate, not combined, rate cases, said NU spokesman Al Lara. The amounts are estimates that would first have to be reviewed by state regulators “to determine that they were prudent,” he said.

“We would never treat them as a combined cost or ask for recovery together,” Lara said. “We would treat the two events separately.”

Katz said the expected future rate cases, which eventually will be considered by the state Public Utility Regulatory Authority, would be very carefully reviewed by her office. The regulatory authority is a division of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

“That’s what we’re here for: to make sure consumers aren’t paying for costs that are unreasonable,” she said.

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