Should the state be able to fine National Grid Rhode Island for system failures?

GOV. GINA M. RAIMONDO wants state lawmakers to grant authority for regulators to fine National Grid Rhode Island and other utilities for poor performance. / COURTESY NATIONAL GRID
GOV. GINA M. RAIMONDO wants state lawmakers to grant authority for regulators to fine National Grid Rhode Island and other utilities for poor performance. / COURTESY NATIONAL GRID

Gov. Gina M. Raimondo says the state may be at a distinct disadvantage in trying to get National Grid Rhode Island to respond quicker to power outages and spend more on aging infrastructure.

Unlike Massachusetts and other states, state lawmakers here have not granted authority for Rhode Island to fine utilities for poor performance or infrastructure concerns.

Raimondo says the disparity incentivizes the company to send workers to Massachusetts before Rhode Island, when storms cause power outages in both states. National Grid denies that has happened.

A state report found the utility was unprepared for a 2017 storm that left thousands of Rhode Islanders without power for days, and slow to react to it.

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On Oct. 30, another government report found National Grid partly to blame for equipment failures that led to a weeklong natural gas outage on Aquidneck Island in January.

National Grid said it made changes following both outages.

Should the state take the utility at its word, or give the Department of Public Utilities and Carriers the power to issue fines?

 

Should the state be able to fine National Grid Rhode Island for system failures?

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