HARTFORD, Conn. — A rare October snow storm that caused record-breaking power outages could lead to increased electricity costs in Connecticut, where residents who endured days in the dark and cold already pay higher rates than any other state in the continental United States.
The price tag is expected to run to $100 million or more for the 12-day campaign that involved crews from as far as Colorado and Michigan, as well as Maine, in restoring power to more than 850,000 customers.
In a recent financial filing, the parent company of Connecticut’s main electric utility said it expects to recover costs for the Oct. 29 snowstorm by going through regulators. With multiple investigations probing the utility’s storm response, however, the state’s energy commissioner and a key state lawmaker told The Associated Press that claims of mismanagement and subpar performance — if proven true — could block the company from passing costs on to ratepayers.
State energy regulators can prevent the utility from passing storm-related expenses on to customers if they are deemed to be “imprudent.”
The rare, pre-Halloween nor’easter dumped up to 2 feet of wet, heavy snow that knocked out power to more than 3 million customers in the Northeast. A week after the storm, 176,000 customers were still without power. Electricity was restored to virtually all customers by Thursday.
Oakland police plead with protesters to leave
OAKLAND, Calif. — Leaders across the country felt increasing pressure Friday to shut down Occupy encampments after two men died in shootings and another was found dead from a suspected combination of drugs and carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a propane heater inside a tent.
Citing a strain on crime-fighting resources, police pleaded with Occupy Oakland protesters to leave their encampment at the City Hall plaza where a man was shot and killed late Thursday.
The Oakland Police Officer’s Association, which represents rank-and-file police, issued an open letter saying the camp is pulling officers away from crime-plagued neighborhoods.
The Oakland shooting occurred the same day a 35-year-old military veteran apparently shot himself to death in a tent at a Burlington, Vt., Occupy encampment.
On Friday, a man was found dead inside a tent at the Occupy Salt Lake City encampment, from what police said was a combination of drug use and carbon monoxide.
The Oakland killing has further strained relations between the anti-Wall Street protesters and local officials, many of whom have called on the demonstrators to leave.
Poll: Romney leads, Gingrich surges, Cain sinks
WASHINGTON — The Republican presidential race is being shaken up again, with Mitt Romney retaking the lead, Newt Gingrich surging into second place, and Herman Cain dropping to third, according to a new McClatchy-Marist nationwide poll released Friday.
The poll of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents signaled that Romney retains his steady if uncommanding position and that, in the quest by most Republicans for an alternative, they’ve cooled on Cain and are turning to Gingrich. It’s the first national survey taken entirely since the allegations of sexual harassment against Cain erupted into a full political firestorm this week.
Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, was favored by 23 percent of respondents; Gingrich, former speaker of the House of Representatives, 19 percent; Cain, former restaurant executive, 17 percent; Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, 10 percent; Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, 8 percent; Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, 5 percent; former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, 1 percent; former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah, 1 percent; undecided, 17 percent.
The survey of 347 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents was conducted Tuesday-Thursday and had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.5 percentage points.
NATO service member killed in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan — NATO says one of its soldiers has been killed in an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan.
NATO says the attack took place Friday but provided no other information. The death raises to 495 the number of coalition troops killed in the country so far this year.