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Western Massachusetts Electric Company intends to appeal a ruling issued today by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities assessing financial penalties for its response following the devastating October snowstorm that swept through the region last fall. Having deployed over a thousand resources to restore power around the clock, including hundreds of crews and other support personnel, WMECo completed its response to emergencies, damage assessment activities and power restoration in a safe, responsible and methodical way under extremely difficult conditions.
“We strongly disagree with the DPU’s finding and are disappointed they have chosen to take this path,” said Peter Clarke, President of WMECo. “We had hoped the department would follow the evidence showing our response properly addressed priorities created by the storm.”
The department’s decision affirmed that WMECo followed its emergency response plan, which is submitted to the DPU and approved on an annual basis, but nevertheless assessed penalties for response times to municipal requests for assistance, which were not regulated by the plan.
Before, during and after its storm response, WMECO communicated regularly with customers, regulators, and state and local officials on its progress and estimated restoration projections. Through the hard work of its employees and contractors, the company restored power to over 83 percent of customers within its first estimated restoration time. Enlisting the assistance of contracted workers, the WMECo workforce grew to 10 times its normal size and responded to over 10,000 calls about downed wires and over 3,300 major service interruptions affecting over 65 percent of its customers.
“The men and women of WMECO worked tirelessly to restore power to our customers affected by the worst storm impact in our 100-plus year history,” added Clarke. “We commend them for their diligence and dedication to getting the job done in extremely difficult conditions.”
Western Massachusetts Electric Company, a Northeast Utilities company (NYSE:NU), serves approximately 210,000 customers in 59 communities throughout western Massachusetts. For more information, please visit our website:
www.wmeco.com. Friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @wmeco.