PSNH's misplaced priorities left us in the dark
psnh11-18 nhbropinionrun with frenchPSNH's misplaced priorities left us in the darkThe time has come to shed some light on the utility's practicesBy Corey LewandoskiOne thing has clearly come to light in the midst of the recent snowstorm -- Public Service of New Hampshire is in the dark about what its roles and responsibilities are to their customers.Like hundreds of thousands of other people across the Granite State, I depend on PSNH to provide electricity to my home. Unfortunately, like so many other consumers, I find their service to be expensive and unreliable.My home was without power for five days following the recent snowstorm. This demonstrates a tremendous lack of planning and preparedness on the part of PSNH, which is in and of itself inexcusable. But to make matters even worse, this year's outage marks the third time since 2008 that my home has been without power for five or more days.As residents of a New England state, we make contingencies for winter weather. We prepare and plan. I have a generator in my home to serve as a back-up source of power in situations just like this. Is it really so much to ask that our power company do the same and be prepared to more promptly restore power to the homes of their customers? I don't think it is.The problem is not power, it is priorities. Rather than investing some of the money from their noticeably high electricity rates in infrastructure and modernization, PSNH has been engaged in a massive land grab effort in the northern part of our state.Known as the Northern Pass transmission project, PSNH's parent company, Northeast Utilities, has been attempting to deprive private landowners of their property by invoking eminent domain.The battle moved to the General Court this year as House Bill 648 was proposed to prohibit the illegal land grab, which in turn caused PSNH to spend tens of thousands of dollars lobbying for the Northern Pass project.As both a private property owner and a PSNH customer, I believe that before they spend any additional amounts of time or resources into promotional and lobbying efforts to expand their power grid, PSNH should focus instead on reliably providing power to the customers they already overcharge.If you agree, I encourage you to call Governor Lynch at 271-2121 and ask that he ensure the upcoming Public Utilities Commission review look into not only how PSNH mishandled this storm, but additionally the wind storm of 2010 and the ice storm of 2008 and the ensuing power outages. The previous two storms should have prompted PSNH to better prepare for future events, and yet the pattern of powerlessness has continued.The time has come to shed some light on PSNH's practices. Please tell Governor Lynch to make sure that happens before we are all left in the dark again.Corey R. Lewandowski of Windham is state director of Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire.