Following Casey Request, Public Utility Commission Investigates Prolonged Power Outages

Commission Will Investigate Prolonged Outages, Including Those Related to October Snowstorm

WASHINGTON, DC – Following a call from U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) to investigate power outages that lasted more than week after a late October snowstorm, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) has begun an investigation into those outages and has called on electricity providers to provide plans to prevent such outages in the future.

“Pennsylvanians deserve to know what is being done to prevent debilitating power outages like those that occurred after the recent snowstorm,” said Senator Casey. “This investigation will shed light on why recent outages lasted so long and what can be done to mitigate them in the future.”

The Commission has directed all electric distribution companies in Pennsylvania to:

  • Provide a list of all outages lasting more than 24 hours within the past six months;
  • Describe in detail efforts to restore power in those cases, including factors that hampered restoration efforts; and
  • Offer corrective actions planned or contemplated to reduce the frequency, scope and duration of outages.

Earlier this month, Senator Casey wrote to the PUC urging the agency to investigate the outages in light of their excessive duration.

“I understand the great difficulty that a storm of this magnitude places on our utility companies, but I find it troubling to have so many residents without power a full week after this storm,” Senator Casey wrote in his letter to PUC Chairman Robert F. Powelson. “I ask that you conduct a full and open investigation into the cause of the power outages and why it is taking so long to return power to so many Pennsylvanians.  I believe a swift investigation is in order so that Pennsylvanians do not suffer from additional power outages of this proportion.”

The full text of Senator Casey’s letter is below:

Dear Chairman Powelson,

The recent power outages which continue to plague Pennsylvanians are cause for concern.  Across the state, 15,000 people are still without power nearly week after a late October snow storm.  Of these 15,000, some people are elderly or have disabilities, making this hardship all the more difficult to bear.

I understand the great difficulty that a storm of this magnitude places on our utility companies, but I find it troubling to have so many residents without power a full week after this storm.  I ask that you conduct a full and open investigation into the cause of the power outages and why it is taking so long to return power to so many Pennsylvanians.  I believe a swift investigation is in order so that Pennsylvanians do not suffer from additional power outages of this proportion.

This winter will no doubt be long and tough and all Pennsylvanians will benefit from having a full understanding of why so many lost power during this storm and why many still lack it.  I respectfully urge you to begin this investigation right away so that the people of Pennsylvania get the answers they deserve.

Sincerely,

U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.

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