Bill would require utility companies to compensate customers

Bill would require utility companies to compensate customers

The snow is melting away, but there are still plenty of people who are stuck in the dark.
A local lawmaker is pointing the finger at power companies. He's even proposing a new bill that would force some to compensate their customers.

Pa. Rep. Tom Caltagirone, D-Reading, said he wants electric companies that are not preparing effectively for storms-- by cutting back on staff-- to pay you for being without power for so long.

In Alsace Township, David Crott showed the damage left from October's significant snow fall.

He pointed to a downed tree, "Snapped off took my lines, took everything."

He said he's been without electrical service since Saturday. And to have a little bit of power from his generator is costing him at least 60 bucks a day.

"My whole paycheck is going into fuel to power the generator this week," said Crott.

State Representative Tom Caltagirone said he's fed up with the extended outages that are becoming a pattern for Berks.

"How often has this been happening? They can come up with all the excuses in the world," said Caltagirone.

He wants the customer to be compensated.

"For every hour that it's off they give you a credit for that hour on your next bill," said Caltagirone.

He stressed his proposal is for customers of utility companies that have cut back on staffing.

"How many men do you have on line and repair? I was told 140 they're down to 30 some," said Caltagirone, If you're down, and you better have a damn good reason why you didn't properly maintain your lines because I think that's the root of the problem."

"We would gladly answer any question the representative has about our storm restoration process, once that restoration is complete," said Scott Surgeoner, a spokesperson for Met-Ed.

Surgeoner said he didn't have specific personnel numbers in front of him.

"Workforce numbers are going to change and fluctuate over time," said Surgeoner, "The reason that we are having lengthy outages back in August and now this month October into November is the severity of the storms over which we have no control. "

Caltagirone's bill was just introduced Tuesday. He said he doesn't know how far it will go. At the very least he would like to hold a hearing to question the utility companies.

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