Communication could improve; otherwise, the staff of the Public Service Commission gives high marks to state utilities that had to deal with a series of ice storms in December.

Widespread ice storms caused power outages over much of Missouri in December. Hundreds of thousands of Missourians were left without power, some for days, others for weeks.

Lena Mantle is the head of the Public Service Commission Energy Department. Mantle says AmerenUE, Aquila, Kansas City Power and Light and The Empire District Electric Company all followed the restoration plans they had in place. All called in extra help. That became more difficult than normal, because much of the Midwest was coping with the same storms, forcing utilities to bring in help from farther away than normal.

The PSC staff does recommend the utilities improve communication with customers during outages. Mantle says customers need to have an idea about when power might be restored so they can make plans to cope with an outage.

All of the utilities have reviewed their own efforts in December. The PSC staff recommends a meeting be held so all electric utilities can evaluate best practices for storm restoration.


Download/listen Brent Martin reports (:60 MP3)