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Public Statements

Letter to Chairman Thomas Getz, Public Utilities Commission

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Concord, NH

Governor John Lynch today sent a letter to the Public Utilities Commission asking the commission focus on whether the utilities were adequately prepared as it conducts its review of the response of New Hampshire's regulated utilities to the recent snowstorm.

Many New Hampshire citizens were without power for several days, and some had lost power for a week.

"It appears that some utilities worked pro-actively to secure the additional crews they needed to restore power quickly for their customers, and they are to be commended. But I am deeply concerned that it took until Saturday -- a week after the storm -- to see power restored to all our citizens. Like many New Hampshire citizens, I have questions about whether all New Hampshire utilities were sufficiently prepared, whether utilities could have done anything to shorten the length of the recent outages, or whether there were steps that could have been taken to reduce the number of outages," Governor Lynch wrote in his letter to the commission.

The PUC had planned on conducting an after-action review of the utilities' response to the storm and widespread power outages.

A copy of the Governor's letter is attached:

Chairman Thomas Getz
Public Utilities Commission

Dear Chairman Getz:

I am pleased that the Public Utilities Commission will undertake an after-action review of the response of New Hampshire's regulated utilities to the recent snowstorm.

Prolonged power outages are deeply disruptive to the lives of our citizens and the operations of our businesses. Our businesses and citizens suffered tremendous hardship - students were out of school for days, families were displaced from homes or subjected to cold and unsafe conditions within their homes, and our people and businesses suffered economic losses as a result of the outages.

It appears that some utilities worked pro-actively to secure the additional crews they needed to restore power quickly for their customers, and they are to be commended. But I am deeply concerned that it took until Saturday - a week after the storm - to see power restored to all our citizens. Like many New Hampshire citizens, I have questions about whether all New Hampshire utilities were sufficiently prepared, whether utilities could have done anything to shorten the length of the recent outages, or whether there were steps that could have been taken to reduce the number of outages.

As the Public Utilities Commission undertakes its review, I urge you to focus on a number of questions:

1) At what point was it known to the utilities that this would be a significant storm, likely requiring the securing of additional repair crews?Â

2) Did the utilities take steps to secure and pre-position private and out-of-state crews ahead of the storm, and were these steps adequate?

3) Were crews deployed by the utilities in the most efficient and effective manner?

4) How did the number of crews responding to outages compare on a per customer basis between the utilities? Do the scope and nature of the outages indicate a lack of maintenance or other reliability measures by the utilities?

5) Are there other preparations that the utilities could have made to prepare for the storm that would have shortened the length of the outages or reduced the number of outages?

6) Are there policy changes, either on a state or utility level, that would have reduced the number of outages or helped to shorten the restoration time?

7) Are utility emergency response agreements operating sufficiently under the demands of increased power outages?

8) Were the utilities adequately communicating with customers and municipal officials?

Thank you for your attention to this matter. Please let me know if I can be of assistance.

Very truly yours,

John Lynch
Governor


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