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Following energy issues in the state of Connecticut and beyond.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New Northeast Utilities Chief Executive Offers Perspectives on Company's Future

Thomas May, Northeast Utilities' new president and chief executive officer, didn't waste any time in his first day on the job.

May (shown at left) held a conference call with reporters from around the New England on Tuesday and addressed a variety of topics related to company. NU announced completion of its merger with Boston-based NStar earlier in the day.

Among the topics May covered:

Reliability issues in Connecticut in the aftermath of two crippling storms last fall and how the merger will address those problems:  "The bottom line is that we'll have more resources, capability and flexibility to serve our customers. We will have literally hundreds and hundreds of crews we can move around New England. We, as larger company, will be better prepared and not dependent on help being shipped in from other jurisdictions that may have different agendas or political issues to deal with."

Reaction to the idea that Connecticut lawmakers will likely adopt performance standards for the state's electric utilities in as result of their performance during last year's storms: "We're not strangers to performance standards. Many regulatory bodies have performance standards. It's a common practice. We're confident that the capabilities of this new company will put us in the top quartile of customer service and we're going to reach those standards whether we're mandated to or not."

The fact that Northeast Utilities will have two headquarters now, in Hartford as well as Boston: "The company has been doing business in Connecticut, Western Massachusetts and New Hampshire very successfully for years. Adding one more leg to the stool will not add much more complication."

The impact that the merger will have on the Northern Pass transmission project, which will bring 1,200 megawatts of power from hydroelectric plants in Quebec down through New Hampshire to help meet demand for electricity in southern New England, where NU's load centers are located: "We have a stronger balance sheet from this merger. Credit rating upgrades from that will make it easier to finance this project. We are in the progress of acquiring property that will allow the line to come down from Canada. It is still in the early stages, but we're making good progress."

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