SECTION 1. Chapter 164 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after section 1H the following new section:-
Section 1I. The department is hereby authorized to promulgate rules and regulations to establish standards of acceptable performance for the restoration of service outages for distribution, transmission and gas distribution companies doing business in the commonwealth. The department shall establish a penalty of not less than $500,000 for each separate instance for a failure to perform and the department may increase the penalty should it find it necessary based on the severity as a result of the failure to perform. The department shall open a full investigation and evidentiary hearings, upon petition of the Attorney General or by any municipality that has service outages, to determine whether the distribution, transmission or gas distribution company’s service outage violated the standards established by the department; provided, that said petition shall be made within 45 days after service has been restored.
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