Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



August 5, 2020

Senator Needleman, In Response to Severe Damage Caused By Tropical Storm Isaias, Asks Eversource:

“Where Has All The Money Gone?”

ESSEX – State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) – Senate Chairman of the legislature’s Energy and Technology Committee and serving his fifth term as the first selectman of Essex – held a press conference this afternoon, calling for a legislative investigation and audit into Eversource for its electrical grid hardening preparation and response so far to Tropical Storm Isaias, which left nearly three-quarters of a million customers in Connecticut without power – including 90 percent of the Town of Essex.

Sen. Needleman noted Eversource routinely seeks customer rate hikes from the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to cover the cost of emergency repairs caused by storms. In January 2019, Eversource sought more than $150 million in rate hikes to cover the cost of damaged equipment, poles, fuel, and to pay out-of-state workers for five storms over two years. In 2013, Eversource sought nearly half a billion dollars in rate hikes to cover the costs of the cleanup and repairs necessitated by Hurricane Irene in 2011, the Halloween nor’easter in October 2011, and superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The first bill that Sen. Needleman introduced as a state senator was to get Eversource to increase the size of its workforce – especially its line crews – which has been substantially cut even as Eversource corporate profits skyrocket.

“PURA routinely reviews and approves some form of customer rate increase for Eversource to pay for electrical system ‘hardening’ so Eversource’s infrastructure becomes more resilient to storms over the years,” said Sen. Needleman, who was up until 3 a.m. Wednesday morning with town employees and homeowners cutting downed trees in Essex. “My question is, where has all that money gone? What did customers get for their investment in Eversource? Why isn’t Eversource investing in and hiring new linemen? We’ve got nearly three-quarters of a million people without power in Connecticut today – including nearly all of Essex – which is about the same number of people who lost power during that devastating ice storm in April 2011. It seems very little has changed with Eversource over the past decade, now matter how much money consumers throw at them.”