Connecticut Light & Power filed more than 600 pages of documents with regulators Thursday, launching its case for reimbursement of $462 million the company said it spent on five major storms over the last two years including Sandy, Irene and the freak snowstorm of October, 2011.
The company had said it might not seek a payback until 2014. In all, the company said it spent $462 million but is seeking less from ratepayers.
Here’s the rundown, with the October snowstorm likely to generate the most controversy:
1. October 2011 Nor’easter snowstorm: $175 million (1.44 million customers restored).
2. Storm Sandy, October-November 2012: $156 million (856,184 customers restored).
3. Tropical Storm Irene, August 2011: $111 million (1 million customers restored).
4. June 2011 storm: $11 million (209,045 customers restored).
5. Sept. 2012 storm: $9 million (80,575 customers restored).
CL&P is seeking $414 million of the total because its parent company, Northeast Utilities, agreed to forgo $40 million from the nor’easter as a condition of its 2012 merger with Boston-based NSTAR. Several official reports panned CL&P’s handling of that storm recovery, which cost the former head of the company his job. In addition, an $8 million storm recovery fund was already set aside.
It remains unclear what the reimbursements would to do customers’ rates. The $414 million amounts to an average of nearly $400 from each of the company’s 1.2 million customers — money that would be added to the rate base, collected over a period of years.
“The damage from these natural disasters and the response to complete repairs was extraordinary and unlike anything in CL&P history,” said Bill Herdegen, the CL&P president. “Typically, storms of this magnitude strike years or decades apart, but in 16 months, we experienced four of the company’s ten most devastating storms. Responding to Mother Nature’s wrath is a necessary, but costly part of the utility business.”
Those costs included bringing in thousands of outside tree and line crews and replacing thousands of utility poles, transformers and segments of wire.
“Necessary” is the key word, as the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority will consider whether the company’s actions were that, and were prudent.