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Patrick Demands Probe Of Power Outages In Mass.

Gov. Deval Patrick has asked for a formal investigation by Massachusetts utility regulators into the response by the power companies to the October nor'easter.

Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard Sullivan said Friday that the inquiry by the Department of Public Utilities will focus on the emergency preparedness and restoration of service.

The DPU is already investigating the response to outages from Tropical Storm Irene, back in September.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, nearly 70,000 electric customers remained without power in the Bay State nearly a week after the October storm hit.

National Grid reports Friday that 31,000 of its customers are still in the dark, concentrated in central Massachusetts and the Merrimack Valley.

National Grid's Debbie Drew says it appears it will take a few more days to complete all repairs.

"It's split trees, trees still down," Drew said. "You know, our crews have to get in there, remove debris. It is labor-intensive, time-consuming work. It is pole to pole, street to street."

Western Massachusetts Electric Co. says more than 38,000 of its customers are out. Springfield and Longmeadow have the highest percentage of customers without electricity.

NStar and Unitil have restored power to all their customers.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This program aired on November 4, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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