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Shaheen and Ayotte had requested report following severe snow storm

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) welcomed the release today of a study by federal regulators of the widespread power outages that occurred in New Hampshire and other New England states last October following a major snowstorm.

The study, requested in a joint letter by Sens. Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and conducted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, focused on the federally regulated high-voltage transmission network. It concluded that only about 5 percent of the outages occurred along that network, while the rest occurred along the state-regulated, low-voltage electric distribution network, which recorded more than 50,000 individual problem areas due to fallen trees or storm damage.

Nonetheless, the failures along the federally regulated transmission network were significant, and the study includes several recommendations from regulators on how utilities could improve their monitoring of overhanging trees.

“This report underscores the severity of these outages and the need for state and federal regulators to work together and to engage the power companies on improving reliability,” Shaheen said. “It is both dangerous and costly for New Hampshire families and businesses to be left without power for days. Utility companies should take the recommendations of this report to heart, and federal and state regulators should hold them accountable.”

A copy of the full report can be downloaded here. The October snowstorm left more than two million utility customers without power in New England, including 315,000 in New Hampshire, many for several days.

Shaheen also participated in an Energy Committee hearing on the issue in April, which was also held at her request.