01. History of Asbestos Use
Connecticut Light and Power Company History of Asbestos Use
- Years in Operation: 1917 – present
- Location: Berlin, Connecticut
- Production: Utility company
- Asbestos Trust: No
J. Henry Roraback founded Connecticut Light and Power Company in 1917. Roraback started the company with funding from the United Gas Improvement Company (UGI).
With this funding, Roraback purchased several small utility companies along the Rocky River and Housatonic River to form the Connecticut Light and Power Company. Roraback became the director and vice president of the company, though UGI still retained controlling shares.
By 1918, Connecticut Light and Power Company became one of the largest utility providers in Connecticut.
Early in the company’s history, records show many of its facilities used asbestos products. At the time, asbestos was often used in the utility industry because it provided heat and electrical resistance.
Beginning in January 1926, a Halliburton Company subsidiary called DII Industries supplied asbestos products to Connecticut Light and Power Company’s New Milford, Connecticut location. DII Industries was a supplier of asbestos-containing pumps, compressors and turbines. This equipment was often used in power plants.
Connecticut Light and Power Company continued to build and acquire new power facilities throughout the 1920s and 1930s. The company grew quickly, supplying electricity to 60 towns in the state by the end of 1929.
Connecticut Light and Power Company parted from UGI in 1941 and became an independent company. It continued to use asbestos in its facilities. For 20 years, the company operated independently, growing its consumer base to more than 1.3 million users.
In 1966, Connecticut Light and Power Company and several other northeastern power companies merged to form Northeast Utilities.
The newly founded Northeast Utilities used asbestos in many of its facilities. Records show asbestos products manufactured by a well-known asbestos company, Pittsburgh Corning, were used in two Connecticut facilities. These products were installed in a station located in Montville in 1966 and a nuclear power plant in Waterford in 1968.
Northeast Utilities sourced asbestos products from many companies, including Combustion Engineering, Owens Corning and Fibreboard Corporation.
The company used several products from other asbestos manufacturers in its facilities to provide electrical resistance for various products. In 1969, asbestos products manufactured by W.R. Grace & Co. were installed in Northeast Utilities facilities located in Newington, Connecticut.
Installation records indicate Northeast Utilities ceased buying asbestos products in the early 1980s, due to changing regulations. However, these products may still have been present in facilities for years before they were removed.
The 1980s and 1990s brought regulatory oversight from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as well. These changes forced the company to sell some of its subsidiaries.
Northeast Utilities and its subsidiaries merged with NSTAR Electric & Gas to form Eversource Energy in 2010. After Eversource Energy was formed, the company began to assess the industrial hygiene and safety of its facilities. In 2011, the company hired EnviroMed Services to provide asbestos abatement services across subsidiary locations.
Today, Connecticut Light and Power Company operates under Eversource Energy. The companies continue to receive asbestos claims as a result of Connecticut Light and Power Company’s historic asbestos use.
02. Asbestos Products
Connecticut Light and Power Company Asbestos Products
Connecticut Light and Power Company did not manufacture or sell asbestos products. The company used products supplied by other asbestos companies to insulate and maintain its electrical facilities.
Asbestos was present at various Connecticut Light and Power facilities. The company used the mineral in the construction of its facilities, as well as in electrical equipment, reactors and other machinery. Asbestos products were commonly used in the utility industry because the mineral is heat, chemical and electrical resistant.
For example, Connecticut Light and Power Company records reveal asbestos was used in the construction of its Greenwich, Connecticut facility. At that plant, vinyl flooring, masonry block filler and roofing material all contained asbestos.
Records show both Connecticut Light and Power Company and Northeast Utilities used asbestos-containing boilers in power facilities.
Asbestos was also used to provide electrical resistance around cables, which made it a common component in reactors and generators. For example, records show asbestos cloth was used for thermal insulation in a Northeast Utilities reactor in Millstone, Connecticut.
Asbestos products used in Connecticut Light and Power Company facilities include, but are not limited to:
- Asbestos cloth
- Asbestos insulation
- Cable jacketing
- Masonry block filler
- Roofing material
- Vinyl flooring
03. Occupational Exposure
Connecticut Light and Power Company and Occupational Exposure
Employees at Connecticut Light and Power Company facilities may have been exposed to asbestos while working. The company used asbestos components around cables and inside of pipes and boilers.
Exposure was likely to occur during times of disturbance, such as installation, maintenance or removal of asbestos products. Anyone present in the area may have inhaled asbestos dust.
04. Asbestos Litigation
Asbestos Litigation Against Connecticut Light and Power Company
Connecticut Light and Power Company used asbestos products in its facilities, exposing workers to the dangerous mineral. As a result, many former employees have filed asbestos claims against the company.
In 1994, Pietraroia filed a workers’ compensation claim against Northeast Utilities. He alleged his asbestosis was caused by exposure to asbestos while employed by the company. Pietraroia lived in Australia at the time of his filing, but a hearing commenced in Connecticut.
A former coworker of Pietraroia testified at the hearing. His testimony confirmed work for Northeast Utilities brought the boiler repair crew into frequent and significant contact with asbestos.
Despite this testimony and Pietraroia’s virtual presence at the hearing, the case was dismissed because Pietraroia was unable to physically appear in Connecticut. In 2000, the dismissal was reversed upon appeal, giving Pietraroia the opportunity to receive compensation.
Successful claimants are paid through the company’s own funds, as a trust fund has not been established for Connecticut Light and Power Company or any of its parent companies.