NO SPECIAL SESSION ON STORM RESPONSE AT LEAST UNTIL TWO COMMISSIONS REPORT; NU-NSTAR TO UPDATE MA OFFICIALS TODAY

Right after the debacle that was the CL&P response to the pre-Halloween snow storm, some state and local leaders called for a special session of the General Assembly to pass reforms to ensure such a disaster (the response, not the storm) never happens again. But the legislature won’t act at least until Gov. Malloy’s “Two Storm Committee” issues its recommendations and the Witt Associates releases their review (also arranged by Malloy).

State Senate Majority Leader Marty Looney (D-New Haven) says it doesn’t make sense to proceed with a special session without the findings of at least these two committees, and when that happens is up in the air. Witt Associates have a reporting deadline of this Thursday (Dec. 1) but there is no defined deadline for the Two Storm Committee.

If there is a special session on storm response, it would be much like the jobs special session earlier in October. “[If it happens,] We would want it to be a one-day session with an agreed-upon, bipartisan agenda that would be concentrated on three areas,” Looney said. “Tree-cutting; management of restoration, meeting of deadlines and ensuring there are back-up crews ready; and communications with local leaders.”

Gov. Malloy seems to be on the fence as to a special session of the General Assembly.

Two Storm and Witt Associates are just two of the reviews of the storm response. The General Assembly’s Energy and Technology and Insurance committees are both expected to propose new legislation related to the storms; the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) will review the performance of the utilities; and Northeast Utilities says it will issue findings of its own report.

Meanwhile, as The Hanging Shad reported this weekend, the fiasco that was CL&P response had held up merger talks between Northeast Utilities and Massachusetts-based utility giant NStar. The two are expected to update Massachusetts regulators today on the progress being made as far as what the rates and green energy sources would be in a new, merged utility behemoth.