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Coakley To Request Investigation Into Utilities’ Storm Response

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A National Grid team repairs a broken power line Monday, Oct. 31, 2011. (Photo courtesy: National Grid)

A National Grid team repairs a broken power line Monday, Oct. 31, 2011. (Photo courtesy: National Grid)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Attorney General Martha Coakley will request a formal investigation into the utilities’ response to recent storms, her office announced Wednesday.

Hundreds of thousands of Bay State customers were left without power for days after two recent storms (Tropical Storm Irene and the Nor’easter this past weekend).

In a press release, Coakley said that it was “essential” for the utilities to be prepared for the storms.

“Following the October 29 storm, our office has received a variety of complaints regarding the power restoration process by the utilities. Right now, the utility companies’ focus should be on getting power back online for individual households and maintaining strong communications. However, once power has been restored throughout the Commonwealth, we will petition the Department of Public Utilities to initiate a formal investigation into the companies’ restoration efforts, including their preparedness for this storm as well as their communications with local officials and customers in its aftermath.”

The press release added that an investigation into last December’s storm resulted in a $2 million settlement with National Grid.

Executives from National Grid, NSTAR and Unitil were taking calls and heat tonight on Nightside with Dan Rea.

WBZ-TV’s Jonathan Elias reports

They thanked customers for their patience, but for many including the Governor they’ve run out of patience.

The mayor of Newton feels the same way. In a two page letter — Setti Warren is venting to the Attorney General about NSTAR’s response to the storm saying, “NSTAR’s performance during the recent storms missed the mark on all expectations causing substantial strife.”

For their part, all the utilities said the same thing: this storm was far from normal.

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