NU job cuts finally annoy AG

So, it’s not just a procedural problem? Who would have thunk it?

Attorney General George Jepsen is questioning Northeast Utilities’ compliance with a state agreement requiring the utility to notify officials of any layoffs that occur as a result of the merger with Mass.-based NSTAR.

The AG, with State Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz, filed an objection with the Public Utility Regulatory Authority over NU’s response to questions about its Connecticut staffing levels. In March, NU agreed to provide notification to the state of layoffs or closings related to the merger with NSTAR. In exchange, the state approved the merger.

According to the AG’s filing, NU has confirmed 319 people have left NU since the merger and some of these departures were involuntary.

NU, upon questioning from PURA in October, said the job cuts did not meet the threshold of the agreement so no notification was necessary.

Today, the AG seems to disagree and is no longer giving NU the benefit of the doubt regarding this matter.

Back in September, when Hearst Connecticut Media contacted the AG and NU after receiving tips about 33 job cuts, Jepsen saw this as a procedural issue that needed to be corrected by establishing a reporting system:

“The Attorney General was not notified about any layoffs. The Office received several inquiries and as a result, we reached out to NU and was advised that approximately 33 layoffs were occurring in Connecticut. We were further told that they are not linemen or in service-related positions, and the company stated that it met the proportionality requirement as set out in the settlement agreement,” the AG’s office said Monday. “However, the fact that we needed to reach out to NU makes clear the need for this Office and the Office of Consumer Counsel, with NU, to develop a reporting process to ensure the terms of the settlement agreement are being met with any job reductions for the future.”

The original post on the mines can be viewed here:

Rob Varnon