CL&P's Tropical Storm Irene response was crafted to get the most free work from the Federal Government and the least out of pocket expenses for CL&P; all at the expense of their customers. Although unsubstantiated, CL&P apparently did not authorize overtime for the CL&P crews and instead chose to let the work pile up until the out of state crews arrived. My understanding is that FEMA picks up 75% of the out of state crew costs and the remainder is paid by the state of CT which equates to a huge sum of free money in CL&P's pocket. I can't believe they did this! I am outraged! And how much have they spent maintaining the lines-I bet it has not been much!
I think the utilities should be penalized for delays in power restoration. I would suggest a model where the first day of the outage, the utility does not get charged anything. This matches up to about the amount of time that food will remain unspoiled in a refrigerator that has no power. After two days outage, the utilities should have to pay back each customer the average cost of one day of their electricity based on the previous months usage. After three days, they should have to pay the customer two days of their average daily usage. The payback should then increase by the power of two so that after four days, they would have to pay back four days; after five days they should pay eight days, after six days they would owe 16 days and so on. This will provide a financial incentive to restore power as quickly as possible.
Finally, I think the local governments and utilities should be working towards the goal of burying all utilities within 40 years. Local zoning requirements should be changed so that all new construction and major modifications to current buildings would require a subterranean utilities connection capability to be installed during the construction, even if the utilites are not buried yet for that location, so that eventually all the building connections would be in place to support burying the utilities whenever the roads are resurfaced.