Amid severe and growing criticism by residents and government officials, Northeast Utilities announced on Thursday that Connecticut Light & Power president Jeffrey Butler has resigned.
In an announcement on its website Thursday afternoon, company officials said they are making changes that would help the company “better meet future challenges.”
“We reluctantly accepted Jeff’s resignation,” NU President Charles W. Shivery in a statement. “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.”
Butler became the target of public anger after hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents were left without power in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene and the Halloween snowstorm. He was publicly criticized and reportedly faced protestors at his Avon home.
James A. Muntz, NU president – Transmission, will serve as president and chief operating officer of CL&P during a national search for Butler’s successor, Shivery said.
The resignation was among changes the company is making to CL&P’s emergency preparedness organization of its Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P) operating company.
Butler's resignation comes just as Gov. Dannel Malloy's "Two-Storm Committee" is beginning its review of the preparedness and responses of CL&P and United Illuminating during the recent storms.
“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,” said Malloy’s Senior Advisor, Roy Occhiogrosso.
The Berlin, CT-based utility also announced that it is planning to improve its performance so that CL&P is better prepared for severe weather such as Tropical Storm Irene and last month's Nor'Easter, which caused widespread power outages across the state.
The company is adding two positions designed to prevent future outage disasters.
William J. Quinlan will fill the new role of senior vice president of emergency preparedness and will work to improve partnership with state and town officials.
A 35-year CL&P veteran with experience in designing and maintaining electrical system, Dana Louth will take over the new position of vice president of infrastructure hardening. Infrastructure hardening refers to making the electric system more resistant to weather. Louth will be responsible for reviewing the electrical system and making recommendations on improving its resiliency.
“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.”