Paicos Says Foxborough Reimbursement from National Grid Fine Unlikely
Foxborough Town Manager says "don't hold your breath" when it comes to the town receiving reimbursement from Attorney General Martha Coakley's recommended fine of $16 million against National Grid for "inadequate response" to two major storms last year.
Attorney General Martha Coakley’s recommended fine against National Grid of $16 million has many Foxborough residents wondering where that money is going.
Foxborough Town Manager Kevin Paicos said at Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting he has “been getting a lot of calls” about the attorney general’s recommended fine against National Grid for “inadequate response” to both Tropical Storm Irene and an October snowstorm. After a conversation with State Representative Jay Barrows (R-Mansfield), Paicos shared what he had learned about the AG’s fine against the utility company with the board.
“That fine is not yet finalized because it is appealable to DPU and National Grid has appealed it or announced they plan to,” Paicos said.
As for the possibility of some of that fine money being reimbursed to individual consumers – Paicos says legislature is working on it.
“We don’t know the answer to that yet,” Paicos said. “There is a legislative effort to have some of that fine go to homeowners.”
Each of those storms last year left thousands of Foxborough residents (and nearly a million in Massachusetts) without power for days and significant damage throughout the state. In Foxborough, that damage cost the town approximately $100,000, according to Paicos.
The town manager explained to the board that 75 percent of that cost was reimbursed through the Disaster Declaration but 25 percent or roughly $25,000 of that cost had to be paid by the town. Residents have asked Paicos if the town will receive any money back as a result of the fine and again, Paicos referred to legislative efforts.
“Legislature is going to try and do the right thing, let’s see if DPU does,” Paicos said.
As for where the money could go – Paicos says it would make sense to see it go to the homeowners and towns affected by last year’s storms.
“I think there’s some awareness that equity demands that the homeowners get some of that and the towns get back what they had to shell out,” Paicos said. “Whether or not that reason prevails we’ll see.”
However, in conversations with Barrows, Paicos says the town receiving reimbursement as a result of the AG's fine appears unlikely.
“I would say from the conversation I had with [Barrows] don’t hold your breath,” Paicos said.
Board of Selectmen chair James DeVellis concluded that regardless of the result of the recommended fine against National Grid, the town of Foxborough has seen an improvement from the utility company after last year’s devastating storms.
“The bright side is the relationship we have with National Grid is a lot stronger than it was before,” DeVellis said. “If the electricity is out for a couple minutes we get an e-mail telling us why it is out. It may not help but it’s communication, which was one of the two reasons it’s fines were so high – communication and staffing – it has stepped up its efforts. So there’s the silver lining.”
To read more on AG Coakley’s recommended fines against National Grid, click here.