HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Electric companies told state utility regulators Thursday that social media proved helpful during the power outages caused by Superstorm Sandy.
Officials from five utilities whose distribution systems were affected by Sandy made presentations during a state Public Utility Commission forum.
PUC Chairman Robert Powelson said the Sandy outages marked the first time a majority of utilities used Twitter and Facebook to better communicate with customers.
"But this is still a work in progress," he said. "There is a lot of work that still needs to be done."
Utilities said the storm that knocked out power to more than 1.8 million customers in eastern Pennsylvania over a nine-day period in October and November was a once-in-a-century event. At the storm's peak, 1.2 million customers were without power.
Officials said the experience underscored the need for additional consumer education about how power is restored and the need for more utility training.
Making presentations at the forum were the FirstEnergy Companies, which includes Metropolitan Edison Co., West Penn Power Co. and Pennsylvania Electric Co.; Peco Energy Co.; PPL Electric Utilities Corp.; UGI Utilities Inc.; and Pike County Light & Power.
The PUC said the presentations are available on its website, www.puc.pa.gov .