Raimondo, McKee urge passage of utility reform bill following Newport gas shutoff

NEWPORT – Following a multiday gas-service interruption on Aquidneck Island in January that left thousands without heat, legislation has been proposed to allow the state to “demand greater accountability” from National Grid Rhode Island.

An update to the lieutenant governor’s 2018 Utility Emergency Response Plan, the Utility Service Restoration Act would require National Grid to file comprehensive emergency-preparedness plans each year and enables the state to levy fines if a utility fails to comply, fines that must be paid by the utility’s shareholders and not passed on to ratepayers.

Gov. Gina M. Raimondo and Lt. Gov. Daniel J. McKee both support the legislation, sponsored by Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy, D-Hopkinton, and Sen. Roger A. Picard, D-Woonsocket. The bill would bring R.I. law in line with neighboring states.

The Newport incident is under investigation by the R.I. Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, which will issue a report upon completion.

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