Getty Images

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 a yearlong investigation.

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

    By far the biggest penalty was assessed against National Grid, fined $18.7 million. The company said in a statement it was reviewing the decision.

    NStar was fined $4.1 million and Western Massachusetts Electric Co. was fined $2 million. Both companies, divisions of Hartford, Conn.-based Northeast Utilities, planned to appeal.  NStar spokesman Mike Durand declined to comment, saying the company is still involved in the appeals process. 

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