As most of Connecticut residents are back on full electric power, at least one journalist is starting to focus on the real reason CL&P has been able to get away with poor customer service, lack of disaster preparation, and even criminal convictions for its parent company’s operation of its former nuclear plants.
In his latest blog posting, former Republican politician, turned part-time journalist, Kevin Rennie turned his sharply focused spotlight on Northeast Utilities’ lobby efforts and its multi-million dollar treasure chest it has kept wide open over the years for politicians. NU is CL&P’s parent company and CL&P is the biggest division “serving” 1.2 million customers in Connecticut. Another $10 million was offered today by the utility to help customers and its image.
As I have repeatedly said, its not only CL&P that customers should be blaming, its the politicians and regulators who had the power to force the state’s largest utility to operate properly that needs to be examined.
Rennie, a full-time attorney, starts the process by looking at how much money U.S. Rep. Christopher Murphy of the fifth congressional district has received from Northeast Utilities Employees Political Action Committee. Murphy is running for the U.S. Senate.
“Too bad Connecticut Light and Power President Jeffrey Butler is not as reliable at restoring power as he is at making political contributions. Every two weeks, the Northeast Utilities Employees Political Action Committee receives a payroll deduction contribution from Butler, who joins other executives from the NU “family” of companies in bolstering the fund. Last year it raised nearly $140,000 to support candidates and other political action committees,” writes Rennie.
“NU PAC records reveal that the fund’s favorite Connecticut politician is 2012 United States Senate hopeful Representative Christopher Murphy. The Fifth District congressmen’s campaign and political committee have solicited and accepted tens of thousands of dollars from NU’s PAC and its $6.2 million a year leader, Charles Shivery. Murphy last week criticized CL&P’s response to the October 29th snowstorm that left 800,000 customers in the state without power for as long as 10 days. The three term Democrat received a maximum contribution of $5,000 from NU for the first phase of his Senate campaign on March 31, 2011, the crucial last day of the year’s first campaign finance quarter.”
The issue of NU political payoffs played a part in the the Middletown mayoral election yesterday where long time Republican Mayor Sebastian Giuliano lost after voters figured out that his lack of criticism of CL&P may have had something to do with a donation he received from an NU officials. If it happened in Middletown, it could happen in the General Assembly.
“Eric Hyers, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said tonight’s victories show that “voters are sick of politicians who put their own interests ahead of taxpayers.” He said that was especially evident in the Middletown race where Giuliano accepted a $1,000 donation from Gregory Butler, senior vice president and general counsel for Northeast Utilities. Hyers said the silence from Giuliano regarding the recent power outages was deafening,” wrote Christina Stuart at CtNewsJunkie.com.
“Hyers said this year was the first time the Democratic Party really put forth an effort to win municipal elections. They made fliers, knocked on doors, made phone calls, and helped get out the vote, Hyers said.”
Now its time for full-time political reporters to examine how much money previous governors and legislative leaders have received from NU and its management. When that full picture emerges, we will have a much greater understanding of why CL&P has been able to get away with its behavior for almost 20 years.
And while we are looking at CL&P, let us also keep an eye and Comcast and other cable and telephone companies to see if they finally agree to rebate customers for the days they did not provide cable, internet and telephone service. If there is a lack of enthusiastic pressure from our elected officials – you will know why.
Meanwhile CtNewsJunkie.com reported:
In what could be seen as another communications failure for Northeast Utilities, the parent company of Connecticut Light & Power, a press release calling for a conference call with the media went out minutes before the telephone conference was held. Only two reporters were on the call.Continue reading “Communication Failures Continue; NU President Offers Apology and $10M” »
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