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Conn. ratepayers gird for more weather-related costs

Hurricane Sandy was the third major storm in just over a year to cause extensive power outages in Connecticut.

Autumn Driscoll/The Connecticut Post via Associated Press

Hurricane Sandy was the third major storm in just over a year to cause extensive power outages in Connecticut.

HARTFORD — Connecticut’s two large utilities have fixed about 95 percent of the outages caused by Hurricane Sandy, meeting their targets in an effort that was closely watched following prolonged and extensive outages last year.

But ratepayers who are still waiting to find out how much they will have to pay for the recovery from Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 and a freak snowstorm two months later will be stuck with the bill for the third storm once the damage is added up.

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Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating say they are calculating the cost of replacing poles and wires and paying salaries for line workers and others called in to repair the damage caused by Sandy last week. Ratepayers, not shareholders, typically pay for restoration work.

Caroline Pretyman — a spokeswoman for NStar, part of Connecticut Light & Power’s parent company Northeast Utilities — said it is premature to discuss cost estimates for restoring power after Sandy or say how the storm will affect the utility’s decisions to file for cost reimbursement for last year’s storms.

Northeast Utilities has estimated the costs associated with the two 2011 storms in Connecticut at $273 million, with $110.5 million for Irene and $162.8 million for the October snowstorm.

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