Pa. lawmaker wants answers for Upper Bucks power problem

Published: 7:00 PM EST Nov 11, 2012   Updated: 6:31 PM EST Nov 12, 2012

After some residents in upper Bucks Co. spent almost two weeks in the dark after Hurricane Sandy, one state lawmaker is calling for a Public Utility Commission investigation. Rep. Quinn Marguerite, R - Bucks Co., claims that Met-Ed waited almost a week to even survey damage in the area.

One of those left without power for ten days was Elsie Heaney of Tinicum Twp. She relied on a propane generator to stay warm.

"Every time I wanted something hot to drink, I'd go out and turn the thing on, and then turn it off again," she said.

Now, local and state leaders are calling for a state investigation of MetEd's response.

"We're going almost two weeks after a storm, and it's simply unacceptable," said Nockamixon Twp. supervisor Nancy Alessi.

Alessi admits the area is sparsely populated, but she believes most of the problem is geography.

"We are like the state of Florida on a map of the United States," she said. "We are at the end of MetEd's distribution system."

Heaney's brother-in-law agreed.

"It seems like we're the last ones [to get power back]," said James Heaney. "We're at the end of the line."

Last year, the PUC brought MetEd and other utilities to Harrisburg to defend their response to Hurricane Irene. This time, the company insists that it sent crews to Bucks Co. immediately after the storm.

"There was severe damage," said MetEd spokesman Scott Surgeoner. "In one case, we had more than 50 poles down in a line right along Route 611."

Unlike Elsie Heaney, many of her neighbors without generators had to leave for nearly two weeks.

"[One neighbor] was lucky enough, her mother lived up above Stroudsburg someplace, and they had electric."

MetEd's regional president and others will meet with upper Bucks leaders Tuesday morning. There's no word if the PUC will actually launch an investigation.

Could MetEd have done anything different?

"It's a bit early," said Surgeoner. "We're going to do an internal critique -- an internal review -- as we always do after a major storm."