HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – The chairman of the Public Utility Commission gives Pennsylvania utilities – and PECO in particular – high marks for its response to recent major storms.

PUC Chairman Rob Powelson says Pennsylvania utilities handled the storms remarkably well. But as the PUC held a hearing Wednesday on the storm response, Powelson said one area that calls out for improvement is keeping customers informed.

He says utility call centers were overwhelmed, but PECO did better than some other companies, “In the case of PECO, by all reasonable benchmarks, they did a remarkable job communicating with the customer.”

But PECO VP Mike Innocenzo says one of the utility’s automated call systems was overwhelmed for about two hours after Irene hit, “We’re continuing to work with our vendor that supplied that system, making sure that they’ve built some additional redundancy into their system.”

Innocenzo says 80% of PECO customers who lost power during Irene were restored within 24 hours.

Reported by Harrisburg Bureau Chief Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio 1060

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