PUC putting PECO on notice about giving customers faulty info on outages

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 In this February 2011 photo, a PECO worker removes ice covered branches near lines in a neighborhood without power in Coatesville, Pa. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo, file)

In this February 2011 photo, a PECO worker removes ice covered branches near lines in a neighborhood without power in Coatesville, Pa. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo, file)

Pennsylvania’s Public Utilities Commission says Febuary’s ice storm proves PECO energy needs to do a better job of telling customers when their lights will be back on.

PUC spokesperson Jennifer Kocher said too many PECO customers were told their power was back on when they were still in the dark.

“What happens is you have a line that is out, and it may show 100 customers are out and if you fix this particular area you should restore all 100 customers,” explained Kocher. But she said there can be a few homes still without electricity after that work.  So when people call in, the utility thinks they have power again even when the lights are still out.

PECO spokeswoman Cathy Engel Menendez emphasized the utility was able to restore power to nearly 750,000 customers during that storm without significant injuries. And while PECO doesn’t have a solution to this problem yet, she’s hopeful.

“The good news is we think that the continued use of advanced technology is going to help us identify this moving forward,” she said.

The PUC has not issued any fines to PECO, but the case is still under review, said Kocher.

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