Public Hearings on Utility Companies and Storm Preparedness

Massachusetts residents unhappy with the response to the October storm that knocked out power to so many of them will get their chance to weigh in with utility regulators. The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities announced Wednesday its schedule for public hearings as part of its investigation into preparations for the storm.

The unseasonable October 30th snowstorm left some 150 thousand WMECO customers in the dark. Many Springfield residents were without power – and in some cases, without heat – for nearly a week. That prompted Mayor Domenic Sarno to request an investigation by the state Department of Public Utilities.

"The initial response, and not really being geared up and then being told that trucks and services were on their way when in fact they were not, and then giving one deadline after another only not to be met, you know, very, very difficult."

The department's review includes eight public hearings throughout December for customers of WMECO, NStar and National Grid. The hearings will be held in towns throughout Western and Central Massachusetts. WMECO spokeswoman Sandra Ahearn says company officials will be on hand.

"And we welcome the hearings as an opportunity to hear from our customers on things we did well and things they'd like to see us improve upon."

Written comments may also be submitted to the state Department of Public Utilities by December 22nd.

Click here for a full list of hearing locations and dates.