BOSTON (AP) — The state’s highest court has heard arguments from three major utilities seeking to overturn record penalties stemming from their response to two major storms in 2011.

The state Department of Public Utilities fined National Grid $18.7 million for Tropical Storm Irene and a rare October snowstorm. NStar was fined $4.1 million for the two storms and Western Massachusetts Electric $2 million for the snowstorm only.

Both storms caused hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts customers to lose electricity. Many had to wait over a week for power to be restored.

The utilities challenged the findings of regulators who said the companies’ response to the storms and communication with officials during the emergency was inadequate.

The Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments on Monday and took the case under advisement.

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