CL&P’S JEFFREY BUTLER—CONNECTICUT’S TONY HAYWARD

A disastrous event occurs impacting nearly a million people. The big company responsible for fixing it initially downplays the severity of the event and promises that everything possible is being done to rectify. However, the big company simply can’t make good on its promises and the situation continues to negatively affect the people.

This scenario can apply to the incompetence of Connecticut Light and Power Company in its response to the pre-Halloween snow storm. But it is also reminiscent of the BP Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. While the BP disaster was man-made and the snow storm an act of nature, both companies’ response to their respective situations are lessons on how not to handle a crisis. BP Oil chief Tony Hayward, after a series of public relations gaffes, eventually resigned. That may yet be the fate of CL&P’s Butler.

In April of 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig operated by BP, killing eleven people. Hayward initially downplayed the spill, saying it was “very very modest” and “relatively tiny” in comparison with the size of the ocean. Other missteps, including saying he wanted the situation resolved because he “want[ed] his life back…” and then was photographed sailing in his yacht while sea animals, covered in sludge, were seen being taken from the Gulf, resulted in his resignation.

Butler, meanwhile, has had to try to explain while his company wasn’t prepared for the storm’s wrath; why out-of-state crews were so slow to respond; and most recently, why he promised 99 percent of the power outages would be fixed by midnight Sunday. Wouldn’t it have been smarter to undersell the restoration? If they responsibly thought they could restore 80 percent, why not promise 75 percent and exceed the goal? Because “Butler the Oblivious” is lost.

Gov. Malloy has had enough of Butler’s nonsense. When Butler tried to blame inaccurate forecasts for the lack of preparation, the response was so strong, he had to take it back (although they are now using social media to blame state meteorologists). The next time the governor spoke to the media, he left after his remarks, leaving Butler to his own devices. The media ate him up.

The Shad doesn’t believe for a second that Butler’s home in the Farmington Valley “has a generator” but “it’s not working.” Something tells me he has a bunch of generators and they are firing up his home as we speak—that’s if his power hasn’t been restored. I have no proof of this.

Just as BP Oil finally came to realize that the only way it could rehabilitate its image was to get rid of Hayward, so too should CL&P wake up and grasp the fact that if it has any chance of rebuilding faith among its customers, Butler should resign.