McLachlan wants CL&P to expand credits [Danbury News-Times]

December 12, 2011

Danbury News Times
Dirk Perrefort, Staff Writer
Friday, December 9, 2011

DANBURY — State Sen. Michael McLachlan, R-Danbury, is asking Connecticut Light & Power to offer the same credit to small businesses that the utility company is making available to its residential customers.

Recently, officials with the utility company announced that CL&P would offer credits to residential customers who were without power for seven days or longer after the snowstorm that rocked the region in October.

In a letter to Charles Shivery, chief executive officer of Northeast Utilities, the parent company of CL&P, McLachlan said, “I agree with small business owners who say there is no reason a business that lost an entire week of productivity is excluded from consideration” from the credit program.

“I am asking that you consider offering assistance to small businesses as well,” McLachlan stated in the letter.
McLachlan said he sent the letter after being contacted by several local business owners who were concerned that the credit was not available to them.

Chris Ann Allen, the vice president of the Danbury Square Box Co., said the business lost a full week of production because of the power outages.

“I wouldn’t even know where to begin in trying to quantify our loss,” Allen said, adding that the company elected to pay its employees for the week even though there was no work available.

“When the power finally came on, we worked like crazy to get through the backlog,” Allen said. “We finally got caught up, but we had to pay a lot of overtime as a result.”

Mitch Gross, a spokesman for CL&P, said the company understands the effect the outage had on the business community, but the intent of the credit program is to “provide a meaningful benefit to the greatest number of people who were affected.”

Gross urged business owners impacted by the extended power outage to contact their insurance companies about the matter.

“And also the CL&P claims process is available, regardless,” he said.