Connecticut Light & Power: Work Station Mergers Won't Disrupt Critical Services

The power supplier is consolidating four service centers, including Middletown, into one office in East Hampton. Lawmakers and the attorney general are concerned the utility's actions may affect customers.

Connecticut Light & Power in Middletown.
Connecticut Light & Power in Middletown.

A planned consolidation of the city's utility work station into an East Hampton service center will not adversely affect storm response time and other critical services, says a Connecticut Light & Power/Yankee Gas spokesman.

On Monday, lawmakers objected to CL&P's plan to close its Middletown office in testimony to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, during a hearing requested by Connecticut's attorney general. 

The Berlin-based power supplier, a subsidiary of parent company Northeast Utilities, also plans to merge its Lebanon, South Windsor and Willimantic work centers into the East Hampton one. Middletown's CL&P headquarters on Randolph Road is slated to be folded into the East Hampton regional office.

"We've reconfigured our facilities to increase efficiency and reduce costs, while continuing to provide the superior customer service our customers expect," company spokesman Mitch Gross said, in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

"One of the most important factors we looked at when we decided to consolidate was response times," Gross said. "We conducted a complete analysis including drive tests to ensure that response times will not be significantly different. Changes to our service centers will enable us to respond more effectively to all of our customers."

This consolidation, Gross said, will gather more resources and materials in a central location, providing better service to NU customers.

In a letter dated Oct. 29 to PURA Chairman Arthur House, state Sens. Dante Bartolomeo and Paul Doyle and state Rep. Paul Doyle and Matthew Lesser argued that closing the Middletown CL&P work station could negatively affect service.

"It is our concern that this may impact the ability of CL&P to meet currently mandated service standards to South-Central Connecticut residents in general and Middlesex County residents in particular," the letter reads.

Gross said CL&P field workers are routinely dispatched to the city and surrounding areas and can be called upon at a moment's notice.

Northeast Utilities, which merged with NStar in April 2012, is in the process of passing along an estimated $780 million in cost savings to shareholders and customers.

"CL&P has line workers and trucks dispersed throughout the Middletown area practically every day, doing regular maintenance work. Those crews are available to respond to emergencies," he said.

"Our storm response procedures have not changed at all. We will continue to use emergency staging areas at strategic locations, along with our service centers for restoration work during a storm," Gross said.

And if needs within NU's region change, he added, the utility will re-examine where its work stations are situated.

"We will continue to evaluate our facilities locations to ensure we are providing the superior customer service our customers expect."

Also Monday, House Majority Leader Joseph Aresimowicz submitted testimony to PURA requesting it reject CL&P's proposal and prevent the company from outsourcing 160 information technology jobs overseas.

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