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National Grid feeling wrath of Irene response

August 3, 2012

As of Tuesday, August 30, 2011, 3,122 out of 10,493 National Grid customers in Narragansett were without power, and 6,550 from 14,316 in South Kingstown. Although the Massachusetts AG's Office has filed to punish the utility company with fines, Rhode Island's investigation is currently ongoing.

PROVIDENCE—Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a brief with her office last week, seeking to punish National Grid with fines in the millions of dollars. The culmination of a review process of the utility company’s implementation of its Electric Emergency Plan (EEP), the 27-page report highlights significant procedural missteps on the part of National Grid during last year’s Tropical Storm Irene and the October snowstorm.

“The Department [of Attorney General] must take action by penalizing [National Grid] and directing it to improve its emergency response planning to ensure that an investigation of electric distribution companies is not required each time sever weather occurs in Massachusetts,” read the report’s Introduction.

Coakley’s office hopes to hold National Grid responsible for $4,645,000 worth in fines for ‘failing to provide timely damage assessment,’ communicating effectively with customers during and after the storm, and failure to mobilize enough crews to combat the power outages caused by Irene.

On August 28, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene made landfall in Rhode Island and pushed upward into the New England region throughout the next day. According to a report issued by the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers (DPUC) on behalf of National Grid, released last fall, the storm caused power interruptions for 518,000 of the utility’s customers and the system was not completely restored until Saturday, September 3.

For the complete story, pick up the nearest copy of The Narragansett Times.

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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