The man who took the brunt of the criticism for the prolonged power outages following the freak October snowstorm – that left hundreds of thousands of residents and businesses without electricity for as long as nine days – will no longer be in the spotlight.
CL&P President Jeffrey D. Butler has resigned.
His resignation was announced via a press release issued today (Nov. 17) by Northeast Utilities, the parent company for Connecticut Light and Power.
As Butler leaves his position, he also takes with him any input he might have given into why some of the things that went wrong did so, and why some things did get done correctly, as he often pointed out in press conferences.
As the power outages stretched into day nine, after the Oct. 29 storm, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy began leaving Butler on his own at the podium during the twice-daily updates from the Emergency Operations Center televised by news stations.
Reacting to the news of Butler’s resignation, Gov. Malloy issued the following brief statement this afternoon, through a member of his staff, Senior Advisor Roy Occhiogrosso:
“Gov. Malloy made clear that he thought Northeast Utilities needed to address CL&P’s management issues, and it’s clear that process has begun. It’s also likely that there will be other changes on other fronts as a result of CL&P’s performance in the lead-up to and aftermath of the storm.”
CL&P is currently under scrutiny by a Two Storm Panel created by Gov. Malloy to address issues over restoring power both after Tropical Storm Irene in August and Storm Alfred.
The historic October storm dumped as much as 20 inches of snow in parts of the state. The main problem created by Storm Alfred was that the snow fell on trees that still had their leaves, which caused widespread damage from broken trees and tree limbs falling onto power lines.
Gov. Malloy has also called in a private company, Witt Associates to investigate what went wrong, and they are expected to produce a report by Dec. 1, 2011.
In the statement issued today, Northeast Utilities Chair, President and CEO Charles W. Shivery announced that “changes in senior leadership and in the emergency preparedness organization of its Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) operating company,” would be taking place, including accepting Butler’s resignation “effective immediately.”
Butler holds a degree in electrical and electronic engineering. He previously worked for Pacific Gas and Electric, and then for an energy consulting firm. He was hired as president by CL&P in 2009.
“We reluctantly accepted Jeff’s resignation,” Shivery said. “His commitment and dedication on behalf of our company, employees and customers have been exceptional. We thank him for his important contribution to NU, CL&P and the community. We wish him all the best.”
“I am proud of our employees and their hard work in response to these historic storms,” said Shivery. “Today’s changes are major steps to help CL&P and our employees better meet future challenges. There are still things to learn, but with winter coming these were changes I knew we should and could make right now.”
Northeast Utilities will now begin searching for Butler’s replacement. In the interim, James A. Muntz, NU president – Transmission, will take over Butler’s duties.
“Muntz currently has overall leadership and management responsibility for NU’s Transmission business… as Vice President – Customer Operations, responsible for the operation and maintenance of CL&P’s electric power distribution system,” the press release states.
Muntz will report to Lee Olivier, who is Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer for NU and CEO of CL&P.
Other steps NU will take in response to the issues surrounding Storm Irene and Storm Alfred outlined in the press release:
– the company has retained a consulting firm, Davies Consulting, Inc., “to perform a thorough evaluation of CL&P’s preparedness and response to recent unprecedented storms,” with a preliminary report due the first week of January and the final report due in early February.
– CL&P has created a new position to lead emergency preparedness, to be filled by CL&P Senior VP – Emergency Preparedness William J. Quinlan. “Quinlan will lead the consolidation and integration of all CL&P emergency preparedness. He will work with state and town officials to put protocols in place to allow CL&P to partner effectively in any type of emergency,” the release states. He also will coordinate the company’s participation in the current post-storm reviews. “Quinlan has worked closely with the towns and the state following Tropical Storm Irene,” the release states.
CL&P Vice President – Asset Strategy Dana Louth has been named to the new position of Vice President – CL&P Infrastructure “He will report to Quinlan. “Louth is a 35-year CL&P veteran with extensive experience in the design and maintenance of electric systems,” the release states. In his new role, Louth will be responsible for “reviewing and making recommendations on how the company can improve the resiliency of its electric system. He will look at such things as tree cutting/trimming, structural “hardening” (making the electric system more resilient under harsh weather conditions), and issues related to underground utilities.
Posted Nov. 17, 2011
Editor’s note: CT-N’s tapings of the Two Storm Panel proceedings can be viewed live online and previous tapings are archived. The next meeting is at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, when the panel will hear testimony from first responders, including police and firefighters, as well as union representatives. Click here for more information http://www.ctn.state.ct.us/press.asp
Related link: “Former FEMA director hired by Gov. Malloy to review response to power outages. http://windham.htnp.com/2011/11/04/former-fema-director-hired-by-gov-malloy-to-review-response-to-power-outages/
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