Governor Gina M. Raimondo directed the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers (DPUC) Administrator Macky McCleary to conduct an investigative review of National Grid's storm preparedness and restoration efforts ahead of and following this week's wind and rain storm. To ensure that National Grid's full attention is focused on restoration, the review will begin as soon as the utility company restores power to all Rhode Islanders.
"Rhode Islanders should expect the lights to come on when the switch is flipped. National Grid owes Rhode Island families and businesses a swift response when power goes out and thoughtful planning to prevent outages when storms are forecasted," said Governor Raimondo. "I've visited communities around our state to assess the damage from this week's storm and observe Grid's restoration efforts. Too many Rhode Islanders are still without power, and I share their frustration with the lack of communication from National Grid. I'm directing DPUC to begin a comprehensive review of National Grid's preparation for and response to this storm as soon as they turn power back on for every impacted Rhode Islander. Ratepayers deserve answers."
The review will include an assessment of utility preparedness as well as the execution of recovery operations. It will also include a review of nationwide best practices and a comparison to other regional utilities performance during the same storm event in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire.
The Division will open a docket in this matter and establish a procedural schedule. Once established, the Division will pose initial requests for data to National Grid and also seek input from commercial and residential ratepayers regarding their experience with the restoration and recovery efforts. In addition, the Division may seek responses from other regulated utilities as to their storm recovery coordination with National Grid. The Division plans to hold a public comment session in the coming weeks to gather input from customers and local governmental officials.
"As with any significant disruption in electric service, it remains in all our interests to fully examine the reasons for the scope and duration of the most recent power outage," said McCleary. "This review will also afford us an opportunity to apply any and all lessons learned to future utility emergencies in a concerted effort to build a more sustainable and reliable power grid."
As of 3:15pm today, more than 48 hours since the storm ended, there were still more than 31,000 National Grid customers in Rhode Island without power.