The Associated Press

Hefty Fines Issued For Mass. Utilities For 2011 Storm Response

In this 2011 file photo, Tracy Ward, of Wilbraham, prepares dinner by lantern light following the October snowstorm. (AP)

In this 2011 file photo, Tracy Ward, of Wilbraham, prepares dinner by lantern light following the October snowstorm. (AP)

BOSTON — State energy regulators have fined three Massachusetts utilities nearly $25 million for “systematic and fundamental failures” in their response to two major storms in 2011.

The penalties were announced Tuesday by the Department of Public Utilities after an investigation that took more than a year.

Some customers were without power for a week after Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 and a surprise October snowstorm.

National Grid was fined a total of $18.7 million. NStar was fined $4.1 million. And Western Massachusetts Electric Co. was fined $2 million.

The fines are a bit less than the nearly $30 million recommended by Attorney General Martha Coakley.

The utilities can appeal.

Under a new state law passed this year, the fines will be returned to consumers in the form of rate relief.

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