PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Today, Lt. Governor Dan McKee, Chair of the Emergency Management Advisory Council and Chair of the Small Business Advocacy Council, issued the following statement on National Grid's response to Sunday's storm:
"I've been working with municipal leaders and our Emergency Management Agency to help Rhode Islanders navigate this week's power outage. Our local economy has been devastated by the aftermath of this storm. Municipalities are facing increases in costs for public safety overtime and the extension of the school year. Small businesses have lost thousands of dollars and Rhode Island families are still dealing with significant hardships."
"The message I've received from municipal leaders and small business owners is loud and clear—the communication between National Grid and ratepayers was insufficient and inconsistent. I know from experience that unreliable information on power restoration makes it difficult to run a municipality and impossible to operate a business."
"I am very concerned that Massachusetts was able to resolve their 282,000 total outages down to 34,000 while in Rhode Island, our 154,000 total outages have only been reduced to 38,000. That ratio doesn't work for Rhode Islanders."
"The response to Sunday's storm indicates a dire need for utility accountability. Next legislative session, I plan to resubmit a tailored version of House Bill 6190, a piece of legislation from my Ratepayer Protection Legislative Package that requires all public utilities to provide prompt and adequate customer service to ratepayers. In our revision of the bill, we will create a mechanism to ensure businesses, municipalities and families are protected when Rhode Island experiences a widespread power outage."
Later this morning, Lt. Governor McKee and Mayor Joseph Polisena will visit a Johnston manufacturer that expected to have power restored last night after receiving confirmation from National Grid. As of 11:00 a.m. today, this business remains in the dark.