For Immediate Release - July 19, 2011

National Grid to Pay Total $2.2 Million for December 26 Storm Response

Includes Additional Negotiated $1.2 Million Payment

BOSTON - National Grid will pay $1.2 million to customers as part of an updated settlement in connection with its response to the December 26, 2010, winter storm response which created hardships for customers and dangerous conditions for area public safety personnel, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announced today. This amount will be paid in addition to the $1 million in trainings, charitable contributions, and service improvements that were negotiated in a preliminary settlement with AG Coakley's Office in June, bringing the total payments and contributions by National Grid to more than $2.2 million in connection with the storm response.

The updated settlement agreement was filed today with the Department of Public Utilities by AG Coakley's Office and National Grid.

"The addition of this amount with a credit to customers greatly enhances our proposed resolution of this matter," said AG Coakley. "We are providing a benefit to National Grid's customers while also implementing improvements to the company's communications, operations, and training designed to prevent a recurrence of the factors that contributed to the company's performance in responding to the December 26, 2010 storm."

On June 7, 2011, the parties had submitted a proposed settlement agreement that would require National Grid to:

  • Make payments of $50,000 each to the United Way and Red Cross, both of which assisted with response to outages;
  • Fund trainings for police and firefighters in the affected communities;
  • Provide equipment and $150,000 over 3 years to the State Fire Marshall to ensure that public safety responders impacted by the Company's response have the necessary resources to address electric outages and downed wires;
  • Make significant improvements to communications and other community storm response mechanisms;
  • Perform public education and outreach regarding downed wires;
  • Fund a study at a Massachusetts university to develop a formal model to correlate weather data with electric system outages in order to improve its emergency response planning;
  • Train additional employees to be able to respond to downed wires; and
  • Ensure that municipalities receive full reimbursement for related costs.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, none of these costs to National Grid would be passed on to customers. After concerns were raised by the DPU at a case status conference in late June, the AG's Office and National Grid negotiated an additional $1.2 million voluntary penalty to be paid by National Grid to customers in either the form of a one-time credit to ratepayers or payment to the company's storm fund on customers' behalf.

The DPU has until October 1, 2011 to approve the revised settlement agreement.