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Report: Power companies must do better during storm-related outages

Published On: Aug 09 2012 01:32:23 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 09 2012 04:53:19 AM CDT

Power companies in Pennsylvania are feeling the heat.

HARRISBURG, Pa. -

Power companies in Pennsylvania are feeling the heat. A new report issued by the state's Public Utility Commission is putting on the pressure after last year's massive power outages.

The PUC's report highlights the power outage impact from Hurricane Irene and how electric companies responded.

The 51-page report provides recommendations to electric companies on how they can resolve the issues they were having during the massive outages that spanned several days.

One of the major components the report looked at was customer complaints with the service call centers. That was a huge problem, said Berks County Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt.

"People called. They got disconnected. They didn't get the right information. They got no information at all," said Barnhardt.

According to the PUC report, Met-Ed experienced 2,766 cases of power outages during Irene. The PUC said it took Met-Ed two days longer than PPL to restore power to all customers. The complaints against Met-Ed included giving inconsistent and misleading information to customers.

Met-Ed issued a statement Wednesday stating, "We have greatly expanded our social media communications efforts to ensure we are doing all we can to reduce the duration of any future outages."

A spokesperson for PPL told 69 News that the company is already working on several of the PUC's recommendations.

PPL experienced 3,102 cases of power outages caused by Irene. Due to computer problems, the report stated the company also had problems answering calls.

"Supposedly, they're going to better train and get better qualified people when emergencies happen," said Pa. Rep. Tom Caltagirone, D-Berks Co.

The report also recommended having power companies strengthen their relationships with county and state officials. Both Caltagirone and Barnhardt said they are ready to help.

"We are ready, willing and able to meet and strategize with the power companies in order for this not to be severe in the future," said Barnhardt.