Conn. AG no longer seeking penalties against Conn. Light & Power after charitable donation

By Bryan Cohen | Mar 21, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen announced on Wednesday that he is withdrawing a petition seeking penalties against a utility company after the company agreed to donate $2.5 million to an assistance program.

Jepsen's petition sought penalties against Connecticut Light & Power for the company's alleged impeding and impairing of the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority during the authority's inquiry into the utility's power restoration following the October 2011 nor'easter. After discussions with Jepsen's office, CL&P's parent company, Northeast Utilities, agreed to make a $2.5 million donation to Operation Fuel.

Operation Fuel is a Connecticut nonprofit that provides energy assistance to households in need. Most funds donated to Operation Fuel are distributed in the form of fuel assistance in that same year.

Jepsen said the donation was of historic significant to a critical and financially strained assistance program.

"This is a true compromise," Jepsen said. "While I am agreeing to disagree with CL&P on whether its conduct in the PURA investigation was appropriate, we can agree that directing substantial funds to Operation Fuel is a vitally important and meaningful result."

CL&P maintains it did not commit any wrongdoing in the PURA inquiry.

"This negotiated agreement is a satisfactory resolution to this matter and will provide welcome support for Operation Fuel," Jepsen said. "On balance, this agreement guarantees meaningful heating assistance to families that depend on Operation Fuel while avoiding a costly hearing that, in contrast, provides no guarantee of a satisfactory or clear resolution of this dispute. CL&P's response to subsequent weather events has improved, and we have worked to improve communications with the company so that disputes of this nature are less likely to occur in the future."

In the past year, Operation Fuel provided more than $3.5 million in energy assistance to more than 8,200 households and contributed approximately $600,000 to local fuel banks.

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