By Tony Romeo
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — The chief executive officer of Peco was in Harrisburg today, telling state lawmakers that as bad as February’s ice storm was, his utility was still able to completely restore electric power faster than in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
Peco CEO Mike Innocenzo (top photo) told the state House Consumer Affairs Committee that 715,000 customers lost power — 40 percent of the Peco system and 70 percent of Peco customers in the suburbs (see related stories).
But he says Peco had 6,800 people on duty on the Sunday after the ice storm, compared to a peak of 4,700 after Sandy.
“It’s a storm that was as large or larger than Sandy, restored about two days sooner,” Innocenzo told the lawmakers.
Meanwhile, state representative Todd Stephens (R-Montco) questioned whether more can be done to prevent massive outages — such as underground wiring.
“Could we be spending our money more wisely by burying these power lines, as opposed to just coming back and putting band-aids on the same power lines?” he asked.
Innocenzo responded that burying power lines is very expensive and doesn’t solve all problems.
Stephens also suggested that more aggressive tree-trimming may be needed to mitigate storm outages.