HOLDING ELECTRIC UTILITIES ACCOUNTABLE
Eversource failed ratepayers through an irresponsible storm recovery operation. This, coupled with a drastic rate increase, justifiably drew public outrage across the state.
The mismanagement by Eversource's upper management in no way diminishes the gratitude and respect my constituents and I have for the men and women working 16-hour days to restore emergency services, access as well as power across the region.
Lessons (hopefully) learned:
Eversource's communication breakdown created grossly underutilized out-of-state resources and a longer outage. Here are the solutions that I'll advocate:
· Familiar in-state personnel on the ground across the state
· Use these personnel to coordinate EMS, Public Works, and restoration crews.
· Can be done with per-diem retired employees with local Eversource experience.
· Priority One: Open town roads for public safety, power restoration to key buildings.
· Deploy current technology similar to reverse 9-1-1 to manage restoration in real-time.
· Reopen the Western District garage to store assets for more timely distribution.
We Need A More Understandable Bill
The state's Public Utilities Regulatory Agency (PURA), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) and the legislature all play a role in how much we pay. There are two categories of fees:
· "recoverable"[you pay]
· "non-recoverable" [shareholder pays]
The balance between the two needs to be reconsidered by all parties previously mentioned.
What else raises our bill?
Penalties and reimbursements, executive compensation packages, power purchase agreements, consumer nonpayment protection and commitments to "green" energy all impact our bill. I intend to shift more of the burden of the Eversource decision-making to the shareholder, that includes: unnecessary delays in restoration, some reasonable out-of-pocket expenses during power outages, baseline in-state employment levels. Increases in rates should be tied to accountability measures.
PURA determines what is recoverable [paid by you] and weighs heavily on rate increases. The legislature, myself included, will need to weigh all of these important public policy decisions as we craft legislation to be voted on in the next month or next year.
CHAMPION FOR TAXPAYERS
Now more than ever, we must protect the wallets of you the taxpayers. In a time when families are being stretched further and further because of a job loss or reduction in income because of COVID-19, many of you are at your financial limit. As a member of the legislature's appropriations committee, I continue to keep your wallets in mind in any vote that I cast in Hartford.
I've opposed many measures that ultimately bring additional costs to living in the state, either directly or indirectly: the Democrats' Grocery Tax and Meal Tax increase, along with Family Mandated Medical Leave payroll tax.
When elected, I will fight to repeal the Democrats failed tax on groceries, which was part of their last biennial budget. Additionally, I will fight to repeal the one-percent surcharge on all prepared meals as it is an increased burden on the middle class and seniors directly, also contributing to lower gross sales in the restaurant industry.
This expanded tax on all prepared meals, even when sold in grocery stores, to 7.35% places a burden on middle class families and seniors directly, and further increases the cost for one of the most basic human needs.