BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — Massachusetts officials made it clear that power outages lasting over a week like last year are unacceptable, so utility companies raised their standard of preparedness for Hurricane Sandy and the results show progress. According to National Grid, more than 75 percent of their Massachusetts customers affected by Hurricane Sandy had their power restored about 36 hours after black out. That’s twice as fast as their response time to power outages in the 2011 October snow storm and Tropical storm Irene. Other utility companies reported similar results.
“Generally speaking the utilities had more people on the ground on the outset of the storm which is a positive. But at the end of the day we want everyone[’s power] restored so there’s still more work to be done,” said Lt. Gov. Tim Murray.
At the height of the storm, about 400,000 homes across the state were without power Monday night. As of 1 o’clock pm Wednesday, state officials said about 80,000 homes were still without power.
“We got to 80 percent restoration two days faster than in either Irene or the [October] snow storm …so the performance has been better than in past storms and we are continuing with aggressive oversight into keeping the pressure on as these last 80,000 connections are made,” said Exec. Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Sec. Richard Sullivan.
Attorney General Martha Coakley is currently seeking millions of dollars in penalties against WMECO, National Grid and NStar because of their poor response to last year’s storms. While it’s too early to say whether any utilities could be issued fines for slow responses to Hurricane Sandy, Coakley said she hopes they’ve learned their lesson.
“Our point is always going to be they have a job to do, they didn’t do it last time, if they did it this time that’s great, if they didn’t do it this time then they still should be subject to fines. We’ll do what we always do which is protect the consumers here and ask that they be fined if that’s appropriate,” said Coakley.
State officials said WMECO should have all power restored in the next 24 hours and National Grid should have all power online by midnight on Friday.
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