Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



August 8, 2020

Senator Needleman Calls For Resignation of Eversource CEO As Cleanup from Tropical Storm Isaias Continues for Fourth Day

Today, as cleanup continues for the fourth day after Tropical Storm Isaias caused extensive damage across the state, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) is calling for the resignation of Eversource CEO James J. Judge. Sen. Needleman, the Senate Chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, is assisting post-storm cleanup efforts, both in his capacity as State Senator and as First Selectman of Essex, helping all of his towns. After several days, there are still dozens of blocked roads and thousands of customers without power in his district and hundreds of blocked roads and hundreds of thousands of customers without power statewide.

“When Eversource requested hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years to make improvements to the state’s electric grid, it’s easy to ask where that money went, seeing the response to Tropical Storm Isaias,” said Sen. Needleman. “This is an epic failure on the part of Eversource, but it has been decades in the making, with a dwindling on-the-ground workforce and a desire to create an almost-virtual company. Eversource has brought us to the point where we no longer have in-state resources to manage anything but the most minor event. This has been a deliberate attempt to reduce their on-the-ground workforce in favor of executive compensation and shareholder value. The rate-payers of Connecticut deserve better, especially given the outrageously high rates we pay for energy distribution services in this state.”

“As a business owner myself, I know accountability starts at the top, and Eversource CEO James J. Judge needs to be held accountable for his company’s completely unacceptable preparation for, and reaction to, this storm. While Judge made $19.8 million last year, one of five Eversource executives who made a collective $40 million, his company was caught completely flat-footed, with hundreds of thousands still without power several days after the storm. In comparison, United Illuminating will have substantial restoration completed by the end of Saturday and Eversource is predicting substantial restoration by Tuesday at midnight. In Connecticut, we know storms happen, but what’s the point when you don’t prepare enough crews to respond to them?”

What is even more troublesome is that after a meeting with Governor Ned Lamont shortly after the storm, Mr. Judge refused to speak with reporters, sending out a spokesperson instead. Eversource has been widely criticized in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias, as it has been in the past for its response to similar storms. What has made this even more devastating is their severe underestimation of this storm. They were not prepared at all. This comes as Eversource has, in recent years, requested frequent price increases to support a mitigation process intended to prevent the exact poor response we still see today. In the early 2010s, Eversource drew criticism for inadequate preparations for several major storms; ten years later, not much has changed.