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Mass. Utilities Restoring Power After Storm

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The power is slowly coming back on for nearly 300,000 homes and businesses still in the dark after the worst October snowstorm on record in Massachusetts.

Down from a high of 670,000 outages, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency spokesman Peter Judge says it could be a couple of days before all power is restored.

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"It depends on what transmission lines or what lines they're on, so unfortunately you may not have power but the guy across the street from you might," he said.

Utilities are bringing in crews from across the country to boost restoration efforts. The companies say damage from the snowstorm was even more severe than Tropical Storm Irene and they have hundreds of crews working to restore power.

"We're doing everything we can to restore power as quickly as possible, however even with the resources that we are deploying to restore power, it takes time to repair the damage as extensive as what we've incurred this weekend," said National Grid President Marcy Reed.

Reed says the utility has applied lessons from Irene by improving communication with residents and officials in the hardest-hit communities.

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But some town officials criticized National Grid for failing to trim trees that have branches over its power lines to prevent outages.

The storm played a role in five deaths across the state, including two highway fatalities in Falmouth and a woman in Hatfield who died of carbon monoxide poisoning after she turned on a propane heater to warm her home.

More than 100 schools were closed or delayed across Massachusetts Tuesday.

Gov. Deval Patrick has formally requested an emergency declaration from the White House to get federal assistance for local communities dealing with a devastating weekend snowstorm.

It would make cities and towns eligible to recover up to 75 percent of cleanup costs from the storm.

With reporting by the WBUR Newsroom and The Associated Press

This program aired on November 1, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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