PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Lt. Governor Daniel J. McKee issued the following statement in response to the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers' report on the Aquidneck Island gas outage in 2018:
"The Division's report outlines serious fault on behalf of Enbridge and National Grid. I strongly endorse the Division's position not to support any attempt by National Grid to recuperate storm-related costs from hardworking Rhode Islanders. However, a denial of reimbursement does not provide relief to the many residents and small businesses who have not been fully reimbursed for costs incurred during the outage.
The report underscores the inadequacy of Rhode Island's current law on utility accountability. Our State regulators lack the authority to issue meaningful fines to hold utilities to a high standard as allowed by law in neighboring states. In the last two legislative sessions, my office introduced a bill modeled after a successful Massachusetts law that will give Rhode Island the tools necessary to demand accountability from National Grid and issue fines when they fail to meet emergency preparedness and response standards. The legislation ensures that all fines paid by the utility company's shareholders are credited back to local ratepayers. We hope the Division's report strengthens our case when we reintroduce our legislation next year."
The Lt. Governor's legislation requires National Grid to file comprehensive emergency preparedness plans each year and enables the State to levy fines if a utility fails to comply with performance standards.