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Mass. AG Questions Utilities On Storm Response

The Massachusetts Attorney General's Office wants to know how electric utilities have handled power outages caused by Tropical Storm Irene.

Attorney General Martha Coakley has sent letters to the companies asking how they prepared for the storm, and how they have responded in the days since. About 110,000 Massachusetts homes and businesses were without power Wednesday. At the peak, there were more than half a million outages.

Coakley's office wants details on meetings with state and local officials and records of announcements, statements, or social media posts aimed at keeping communities and customers informed. The office also wants to know how many crews have been in the field, and response time to each reported downed wire or pole.

"What were the challenges presented by this storm?" Coakley said. "How well were they prepared for it? Were they prepared as they should have been? Should they have anticipated this? And if not, what can they do going forward for instances like this?"

Coakley acknowledged the difficulties facing repair crews, but wants to ensure companies have followed their emergency response plans.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This program aired on August 31, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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