Tropical Storm Irene slammed into New England last August, leaving many without power for days. Then an extremely early snow storm, just two months later in October, crippled New Englanders again with power outages.
Today Massachusetts Attorney General, Martha Coakley announced a 16 million dollar fine against National Grid. She said in a press conference, "this is the largest penalty we have every sought in Massachusetts and we believe that it is for a good reason, in fact many good reasons."
The investigation determined that National Grid failed to provide timely damage assessments, failed to properly staff for the two events, failed to respond to public safety calls, and failed to communicate with customers and municipalities.
13,000 power lines were down after Tropical Storm Irene, and the October snow storm brought down nearly 22,000. Many Massachusetts homes were without power for nearly a week, some even longer.
This fine is a recommendation to the Department of Public Utilities, which then has the authority to impose the fine. If granted, the penalties can not be passed on to National Grid customers and must be borne by the shareholders.
National Grid will be filing a formal response to the storm proceedings on August 1st but released a statement today saying, " While we acknowledge that our storm restoration efforts did not meet our customers expectations and there is room for improvement, we strongly disagree with the extreme conclusions the Attorney General has drawn."