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Public Utility Commission Hears From Montco Residents About Ice Storm Power Outage Response

wing_dan DL Dan Wing
 Dan Wing is a news anchor and reporter for KYW Newsradio...
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By Dan Wing

BLUE BELL, Pa., (CBS) — The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission held a public input hearing Monday night at Montgomery County Community College, giving residents a chance to speak up about complaints they may have regarding the response to the blackout caused by last month’s ice storm.

From questions about tree-trimming schedules to concerns over inaccurate outage numbers for their neighborhood, the complaints were pretty straight forward and just about everyone complimented PECO on their overall response. But one of the most common complaints was automated phone calls to say service was restored, when customers were still in the dark. It’s a problem PECO Vice President Eric Helt says the utility is working to fix, and should be eliminated once they finish replacing all meters with new smart meters.

“Once we get that and integrate it to our outage management system, we’ll have real-time communications with that meter. So every 15 minutes we’ll be able to check what the status of that meter is, and that should replace the call, which is more important now,” Helt said.

Helt says all PECO customers should be on the new smart meters by Fall.

The PUC will host another public input hearing on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. at the Township Building in Treddyfrin. Officials are also working to hold a third hearing in the near future.