Utility execs tell Pennsylvania lawmakers power-restoration response was excellent
HARRISBURG - It may not have felt that way to the more than 1 million Pennsylvania customers whose electricity was knocked out by superstorm Sandy, but the nine-day effort to restore power was an overall success, state regulators and top executives of the hardest-hit utilities told lawmakers on Wednesday.
"The story we have to tell is a positive one, with hundreds of thousands of customers having their power restored within a remarkably short period of time," Robert Powelson, chairman of the state Public Utility Commission, told a Senate panel.
While Pennsylvania escaped the devastation experienced by New York and New Jersey, executives from PECO, PPL Electric Utilities and FirstEnergy said Sandy was far more damaging to poles, wires and transformers than any of the state's considerable 2011 weather emergencies: Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee and a freak October snowstorm.
More than 1.5 million customers in the eastern half of the state lost power at some point after the storm struck on Oct. 30, including 1.2 million who were without electricity at its peak, according to the PUC. Nearly all service was restored by Nov. 8, Powelson said.
The utility officials, who narrated video presentations for members of the Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee, said last year's events shaped improvements evident in the response to the latest storm. They cited better planning, increased cooperation with state agencies and enhanced communications with customers.
All three companies reported using social media to keep their customers informed.
PPL Electric Utilities President Gregory Dudkin said the number of its Twitter followers increased by nearly 90 percent and its Facebook community expanded by more than 13,000. The overall public sentiment was positive by more than 3-to-1, he said.
The committee chairman, Sen. Robert Tomlinson, agreed the power-restoration effort was top-notch, but said the panel will hold a follow-up hearing on ways to improve relations with customers and local officials to avoid future misunderstandings about utility work.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kentucky clerk invokes ‘God’s authority,’ still refuses gay marriage licenses
- Less sleep increases your chance of catching a cold, researchers say
- Clinton: Women ‘expect’ extremism from terrorists, not GOP candidates
- Postal Service falls short of slower mail delivery standards
- Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Fischer open to interest rate hike
- New Orleans slow to heal 10 years after Hurricane Katrina
- Indians, Asians lead Mexicans among immigrants in U.S.
- Will Trump run as independent? He says decision will be made soon
- McKinley backers balk over mountain’s name change
- Lost hiker survived 9 days with broken leg in California’s Sierra Nevada
- New guidelines to take effect for military equipment distributed to law enforcement