Learning From a Bad Situation
Snow across the Lehigh Valley is usually welcomed as a sign of winter. But an unusually early appearance the final weekend of October proved troublesome, and some residents of my district had to spend a significant amount of time and expense recovering.

The snow of Saturday, Oct. 29, coupled with trees still holding many of their leaves, originally left more than 400,000 Pennsylvania Power and Light (PPL) customers without electricity. Approximately 270,000 Metropolitan-Edison (Met-Ed) customers suffered the same fate at the height of the storm. Adding insult to injury are the effects of Hurricane Irene/Tropical Storm Lee, which still linger in the minds of many people.

When citizens pay their utility bills, they do so in anticipation of not only enjoying the convenience of having those resources at their fingertips, but with the expectation of maintaining accessibility to them when interruptions take place. It is within reason to expect delays when weather events such as the recent “October surprise” take place. It is unacceptable and unreasonable, in this day and age, and with current technology, to go without electricity for the period of time we are being told some residents were asked to do.

I met with representatives of First Energy to review how the damage resulting from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee was handled. Last week, I met with representatives of PPL and with Met-Ed President Dave Karafa to discuss the outages that remained from the snowstorm.

To say that I am disappointed with the situation is an understatement. I want my constituents to know I am doing all I can to get answers as to why a significant number of them were told to anticipate being without electric for seven and eight days, what we can do to rectify this situation and how this experience will be a learning tool for the future.

State Representative Joe Emrick
137th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Scott Little 
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