Streams

Head of CT Utility Steps Down After Storm

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The CEO of Connecticut Light and Power submitted his resignation Thursday, as the utility faces investigations into its handling of massive power outages from two recent storms.

Jeff Butler has been the public face of CL&P as it was roundly criticized first when Tropical Storm Irene set a new state record for power outages, only to be topped two months later by a freak October snowstorm. 

The latest storm knocked out electricity to about 830,000 customers, some of whom didn’t see the lights come back on for nearly two weeks. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy had said the utility needed to address management problems.

“He believed the management structure at CL&P was responsible for what he termed an abysmal performance in the lead-up to and aftermath of the storm,” said the governor’s senior advisor Roy Occhiogrosso, speaking on Malloy’s behalf since he is currently visiting service members in Afghanistan.

As the daily press conferences following the October storm continued, Malloy appeared to want to distance himself from Butler. Initially, as the CL&P CEO responded to reporters’ questions the governor would stand next to him.

After several days of that, Malloy began leaving the stage before Butler stepped up. Malloy brought in an outside consulting firm led by a former head of FEMA to do an independent investigation of the utility’s response to the storms, and their report is expected in a few weeks. State regulators are also conducting an investigation, and there have been calls for legislation to allow more regulation of storm response.

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