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POLL: Should National Grid face fines for last year’s lengthy power outages?

National Grid could be facing up to $16 million in fines. Attorney General will make an announcement today.

The Associated Press reports that National Grid could be facing more than $16 million in fines connected to its response to two major power outages last year.

Attorney General Martha Coakley is scheduled to announce today that she will seek the penalties against the utility for violations during their response to Tropical Storm Irene and the surprise October snowstorm in Massachusetts.

In an advisory announcing the news conference, Coakley's office said that the violations include "unacceptably low staffing levels" and the utility's failure to adequately communicate with municipal officials, first responders and customers.

Hundreds of thousands of customers of National Grid and other utilities lost power during the storms and some waited longer than a week for crews to restore their electricity.

To read the Attorney General's full press release, click here

POLL: Do you think National Grid should face charges for last year's extended power outages?  Take our poll and let us know.  

Have more to say?  Do you think the fine should be more? Less?  Tell us in the Comments. 

Richard DeSorgher July 26, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Instead National Grid should begin a long-range program of getting the overhead wires underground. We are using a technology that came into being following the Pony Express. We keep losing power, resulting in loss of refrigerated foods, banking, financial and personal loss and they keep spending millions cutting down and disfiguring our road-side shade trees. Time to begin planning to get the wires underground, save our trees and town aesthetics and get out of the 19th century.
GM July 27, 2012 at 01:39 PM
I agree with the preceding comment, although I'm not familiar with the economics behind a conversion to all underground lines -- which would affect the speed that a conversion can be made without unduly affecting electric rates. In the long run, I can't help but think this change would save the utilities money by eliminating tree maintenance costs and probably by increasing the reliability of the lines themselves because they would no longer be subjected to the weather. My concern with the imposition of a fine is that I don't see how that's actually putting a solution in place. Yes, it's punishing the utilities, but what is the state actually saying? Should the utilities be staffed up in October to handle freak winter storms that might occur in that month? That will add plenty of cost that will need to be recovered through the utilities' rates. How does the fine improve the utility's communications with the state? Communications is a two-way street. Has the state proposed changes in the communications processes between state agencies and the utilities that were rejected by the utilities (in which case, a fine might be entirely appropriate), or was this just a convenient way for the AG to generate money and headlines without actually doing anything to make the situation better next time around?

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