By Bob Katzen
The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) imposed a $750,000 penalty on National Grid for inadequate storm preparation and power restoration during the October 29, 2017 windstorm that affected over 330,000 National Grid electric customers in 166 communities. The DPU said that National Grid
failed to comply with proper guidelines and regulations as well as the company’s own Emergency Response Plan.
“The Department of Public Utilities is committed to ensuring electric ratepayers across the commonwealth are provided with a high level of service, especially during times of extreme weather events,” said DPU Chair Angela O’Connor. “Following a comprehensive investigation which focused on preparations before the storm, restoration efforts after the storm and communications with affected communities, the department found that National Grid’s storm response did not meet existing protocols and did not provide the required restoration efforts to its ratepayers.”
As part of its investigation, the DPU found that National Grid did not properly classify the severity of the storm, and as a result, fewer resources were available for customers and communities which ultimately affected the restoration efforts. Additionally, the DPU found that the company did not adequately communicate with its customers or public officials. These communications problems hampered restoration efforts and, among other things, kept customers from having accurate information about expected restoration times.