Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



July 1, 2021

Customer Credits, Spoilage Compensation from ‘Take Back Our Grid’ Act Go Into Effect Today

Standards and procedures for residential customers to receive credits and further compensation for spoiled food and medicine from Eversource and United Illuminating, developed as a result of the 2020 “Take Back Our Grid” Act, go into effect today, July 1, after the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority yesterday made final approvals. State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) and State Representative David Arconti (D-Danbury), Senate and House Chairs of the Energy & Technology Committee, today commended PURA’s enacting of these standards, which came after extensive work from them and their colleagues in the wake of the damaging Tropical Storm Isaias in August 2020.

“I’m extremely enthused by this decision, as it will help get real restitution for electric customers who suffer extended power outages,” said Sen. Needleman. “We know now that the damage of Tropical Storm Isaias, and other storms, could have been mitigated if utility providers took action to respond in a faster, more efficient fashion. Residents lost medicine and food and were left without power in the middle of a heat wave, many for more than a week, last year. It is reassuring to know that customers who experience future extended outages will receive compensation. I hope that compensation has a secondary effect of enticing utilities to spend more on immediate response to avoid what can be seen as penalties for poor performance.”

“This is a good step forward in compensating ratepayers across the state that faithfully keep their end of an agreement. Paying their bill should mean reliable service and a well-planned response during times of crisis,” said Energy and Technology Committee House Chair Rep. David Arconti. “I will continue to support and push for measures that enforce a reciprocal relationship between customers of an indispensable utility that is critical to everyday life.”

PURA’s decision, effective as of July 1, 2021, will provide customers with $25 bill credits for every 24 hours they lose power after they’ve experienced 96 consecutive hours, or four days, of an electricity outage after a major storm or emergency. A customer who loses power for six days, for instance, would receive $50 in bill credits, as they would experience two days of outages after the 96-hour period.

Additionally, in outages lasting longer than 96 consecutive hours, residential customers can receive $250 in compensation for medication and food that expired or spoiled due to an electricity outage lasting longer than four days. Customers will be required to file claims to seek spoilage compensation, and such compensation will be issued via check unless a customer requests a bill credit.

Both credits will need to be provided within two months of the major storm or emergency causing the extended outage. Electric utilities would be allowed to seek waivers to seek relief from customer credits for reasons including line worker safety and ground conditions.

This is just the latest reform put in place by the “Take Back Our Grid” Act, signed into law in October 2020 and spurred by Tropical Storm Isaias two months prior. The tropical storm knocked out power to nearly 1 million Connecticut residents and businesses, some of which did not receive service for as many as ten days during a significant and serious heat wave. Eversource and, to a lesser extent, United Illuminating were found to have not adequately prepared for the storm in post-storm reviews.