Utilities on the Hook

A law passed unanimously in Massachusetts requires utility companies to file emergency response plans to the state, and gives the Department of Public Utilities the power to investigate and impose fines like never before.

In an article on www.boston.com, Stewart Bishop says the bill “gives increased power to the Commonwealth to issue directives to utility companies during a declared state of emergency.” The new law, he says, was written in response to what happened after an ice storm in 2008. Unitil Corp., a company based in New Hampshire, failed to adequately manage the crisis, leaving 28,000 of its customers without power for two weeks after the ice storm.

Senator Jennifer Flanagan called the utility company’s inattention to emergency management “deplorable.” And Senate President Therese Murray stressed that utility companies have a responsibility to their customers and that “we can never have a repeat of December 2008.”

To read the article, please click here:
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/11/11/ state_utilities_now_face_severe_emergency_fines/