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Conn. researches expanding municipal utilities

Associated Press Modified: November 22, 2012 at 8:30 am •  Published: November 22, 2012

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut is taking a new look at how utility customers get their electricity.

The legislature has directed state regulators to research the feasibility of establishing or expanding municipal utilities. Lawmakers want to know whether smaller, town-run utilities can get the lights back on faster than the state's two big utilities, Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating.

CL&P was harshly criticized for restoring power too slowly after Hurricane Irene and the October 2011 snowstorm.

In contrast, municipal utilities say power outages in their service areas are brief and limited.

Municipal utilities and their allies say they can restore power more quickly because of strong cooperation among workers at local gas, electric, water and wastewater departments. Public works employees also pitch in during emergencies.